Alaska Delegation Rebukes Park Service for Implementing Unlawful, Unwarranted Rule with Hunting Restrictions

NPS Rule Follows 2017 Law Rescinding Nearly Identical Attempt by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to Illegally Usurp State’s Fish & Game Management Authority

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Representative Mary Sattler Peltola (D-Alaska), today condemned the National Park Service’s (NPS) finalized rule that will impose new restrictions on hunting and trapping in 22 million acres of National Preserves in Alaska. The Alaska congressional delegation wrote to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in March urging her to withdraw the proposed rule, noting it was put forward without any consultation with the State of Alaska, is unsupported by scientific data, and violates the clear intent of Congress in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).

“The Biden administration is charging ahead with a rule that usurps the State of Alaska’s authority to manage fish and wildlife on federal lands in our state, even though we passed a law I authored in 2017 rescinding a nearly identical effort by the Obama administration’s Fish & Wildlife Service,” said Sen. Sullivan. “This Park Service rule amounts to the 65th executive order or action by the Biden administration singularly targeting Alaskans’ access to lands and economic opportunities. Like most of the 64 other attacks on our state, the Park Service totally ignored the expertise and voices of Alaskans—those who would be most impacted by the regulation—including State of Alaska scientists and biologists and the Alaska Native people who rely on traditional hunting practices to feed their families and who’ve thrived on these lands for millennia. This rule is yet another reminder that the Biden administration’s ‘commitment’ to indigenous communities is, at this point, nothing more than a joke and, frankly, an insult. My team and I intend to fight this rule with every tool at our disposal, and defend the rule of law and the well-established rights of Alaskans.”

“The Park Service is presuming authority it does not have, at the direct expense of authority that Congress granted to the State of Alaska,” Sen. Murkowski said. “The Park Service failed to consult with the State on this rule, failed to recognize that the State has primacy over hunting, fishing, and trapping activities, and failed to acknowledge that Congress has already rejected a substantially similar rule from the Fish and Wildlife Service. Releasing this final rule on the same day that Chevron deference was overturned should make it one of the first to fall as the courts begin to limit the regulatory excesses of the Biden administration.”

“Alaska needs to maintain predator control, not because we want to kill bears and wolves, but because we rely on the caribou and moose for subsistence. I have expressed my disapproval of this rule in the strongest possible terms through committee statements and meetings with Administrator Williams. Unfortunately, the Biden Administration continues to treat Alaska like a preserve instead as part of their constituency,” said Rep. Peltola. “Predator management on FWS lands in Alaska was already considered and overturned by Congress; this is a blatantly illegal rule designed to circumvent Congressional oversight and scrutiny.”

On April 4, 2017, Senators Murkowski and Sullivan, and the late Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) welcomed President Donald Trump signing their H.J Res. 69, a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn an August 5, 2016 rule by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that seized authority away from the State of Alaska to manage fish and wildlife on federal refuge lands in Alaska. If a CRA joint resolution is approved by both the House and Senate and signed by the President, the rule at issue cannot go into effect or continue in effect, nor can the agency promulgate a substantially similar rule.

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