Murkowski Applauds Efforts to Ensure Rural Alaskans Have Voice in Proposed Federal Wildlife Management Rule

Comment Period Extended on Rule Affecting Wildlife Management in Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, released the following statement after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced that it would extend the comment period on a proposed rule on hunting, trapping, and land access in Alaska’s national wildlife refuges by an additional 30 days. The Service’s announcement comes after the entire Alaska congressional delegation sent a letter to the Service calling on the agency to extend the comment period.

“This extension is welcome news and will help ensure that Alaskans have a say in how the federal government proposes to manage wildlife in our state,” Murkowski said. “With more than 60 percent of our lands managed by the federal government, any regulation to limit activities deserves careful scrutiny, if not outright opposition. Of particular concern is this proposed rule, which would usurp the State’s authority to manage wildlife, even though that right was reserved to the State of Alaska in the Statehood Act and reaffirmed in ANILCA.”

In January, Sen. Murkowski, Sen. Sullivan, and Rep. Young called on the Service to extend the comment period because the complex and lengthy rule will require significant time to review. The delegation objected to the Service’s attempt to shorten the public comment period from the promised minimum of 90 days to just 60 days. Without an extension, the Service would also have precluded the input of many rural Alaskans, including those whose livelihoods depend on subsistence hunting and trapping.

In addition to the letter sent by Alaska’s congressional delegation, Sen. Sullivan, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife, led the committee’s approval of his amendment that would stop efforts by the Service to preempt Alaska’s wildlife management efforts.

The full text of the delegation letter seeking a comment period extension is available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee website.