Murkowski Condemns FWS Overreach on Alaska Refuge Management

Agency Proposes Rule to Change Existing Wildlife Regulations, Overtake State’s Rights

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today condemned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for proposing a new rule that would preempt the state of Alaska’s long-standing jurisdiction over predator control in national wildlife refuges. The USFWS rule and a draft environmental assessment appeared in today’s edition of the Federal Register. 

“The agency claims this is an effort to bring clarity to a controversial issue, but in reality, it is a takeover of Alaska’s fish and wildlife management rights,” Murkowski said. “Worse still, in what appears to be an effort to ram this through as fast as possible, the agency has proposed an insufficient comment period that will prevent Alaskans from being able to properly evaluate the rule and express their concerns.”

The proposed USFWS rule conflicts with authority granted to the state of Alaska under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), whereby the State has jurisdiction to manage fish and wildlife on all Alaska lands, including national wildlife refuges. 

Murkowski noted that the scope of the proposed rule is enormous. There are 76.8 million acres of wildlife refuges in Alaska – an amount of land that is roughly equal in size to New Mexico. She also warned that if the rule goes unchallenged, it could have implications for the Lower 48.  

“Alaska is often the first victim of regulatory overreach in this Administration, but it will not be the last. This is a sign of rules yet to come, in wildlife refuges across the country, so I would hope that other states are paying attention to what is happening here,” Murkowski said.

The Alaska Delegation wrote a letter to the US Fish and Wildlife Service requesting an that the public comment period be extended for the proposed rule. Click here to read the letter.