Murkowski Presses Secretary Jewell on Proposed Hunting and Fishing Regulations

“You Need to Understand How Significant An Issue This Has Become in Alaska”

Today U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) questioned Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on proposed regulations by the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to govern hunting, trapping, and land access in Alaska’s national wildlife refuges. Murkowski called the proposed rule unsettling to the people of Alaska as it contains provisions to close areas that are currently open to hunting and fishing.

Senator Murkowski raised the issue with Secretary Jewell, asking:

“Of course these are controversial because it calls into question state management authority over fish and game resources within their borders—contrary and inconsistent with ANILCA and a process that gives the Alaska Department of Fish and Game management inside our preserves, refuges, and parks. Do you believe that the State of Alaska has the right to manage its wildlife within the borders of the State?” 

(Click image to watch video of Senator Murkowski and Secretary Jewell discuss proposed regulations over wildlife management in Alaska.)

Secretary Jewell responded:

“Certainly, Senator Murkowski. I believe the state has the right to manage its wildlife. I also, though, say that the Fish and Wildlife          Service and the Park Service must operate within the Congressional mandates that they have and what they’ve struck in this is really around non-subsistence take of predators…”

Senator Murkowski questioned Secretary Jewell’s mention of subsistence, saying:

“How can you suggest that subsistence rights of our Native people are not impacted by these new predator control policies? I guess a bigger question is, whether you think it’s proper for the federal government to effectively reverse the State Board of Game decisions? It’s a violation really of what has been set out, not only within ANILCA, but within our state’s constitution. So, I hope you appreciate the anxiety that has been created in the state because of these proposed regulations…you need to understand how significant an issue this has become in Alaska. It may be right up there with the fight on ANWR and King Cove. It may surpass them all, because this truly does go to a state’s rights issue.”

Background: In January, Senator Murkowski, Senator Sullivan, and Congressman Young called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to extend the comment period on the proposed rule. Without an extension, USFWS would also have barred the input of many rural Alaskans, including those whose livelihoods depend on subsistence hunting and trapping.