Alaska Delegation Supports Administration’s Proposal to Reverse Federal Takeover of State Hunting Regulations

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young, all R-Alaska, today released the following statement after the Alaska Region of the National Park Service (NPS) proposed to amend its regulations for sport hunting and trapping on national preserves in Alaska. Under the proposed rule, the 2015 regulations will be removed to establish better consistency with the State of Alaska’s regulations.

“Congress explicitly provided Alaska with the authority to manage its fish and wildlife in three separate laws—the Alaska Statehood Act, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act,” Murkowski said. “This is clearly our right and our responsibility, and Alaskans take that very seriously. I thank the administration for recognizing this and working to properly align federal regulations.”

“I join countless Alaskans in welcoming this announcement, which begins the necessary process of reversing an unlawful regulatory action by the National Park Service and restoring the unique management relationship between Alaska and the federal government,” Sullivan said. “This is a victory not only as a matter of principle, but as a matter of states’ rights and the future of Alaska’s proven, science-based wildlife management strategies. Congress sent a powerful message last year with the passage and enactment of H.J. Res. 69 – which overturned a similarly overreaching rule by the Fish and Wildlife Service –  that Alaskans are not going to accept this attack on our unique game management authority, guaranteed and protected in both the Alaska Statehood Act and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Today, we stand united – along with the State of Alaska and the Department of Interior – that the policies of the previous administration were a bridge too far and inconsistent with the law and the health of Alaska’s wildlife and ecosystems.”

“This is a long-awaited and welcomed announcement from the National Park Service (NPS). I am pleased by this decision to correct an illegal Obama-era power grab,” Young said. “Just last year, my bill H.J. Res. 69 was signed into law and it overturned a similar rule from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which violates Alaska’s rights. As an avid hunter and former trapper myself, I know the importance of returning the authority back to the state instead of unelected bureaucrats. I applaud NPS for this decision which will ensure that Alaska continues to have control and management authority over fish and wildlife on all lands within the state.” 

The proposed rule was published today in the Federal Register, and opens a 60-day public comment period. This rule applies only to the national preserves in Alaska, not national parks. National preserves in Alaska are open to sport hunting, while parks are closed to hunting. The proposed rule will not impact national parks in Alaska. Click here for more information on the proposed rule.