Murkowski Responds to Change in Federal Regulations to Determine Subsistence Practices

Today U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski released the following statement after the Department of the Interior updated regulations defining which parts of Alaska are designated as “rural” and qualify for the subsistence preferences afforded by Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The new regulations redesignate Saxman as “rural” and establish a new process for reviewing whether communities designated as “rural” should be redesignated as “non-rural.”

“I am pleased that the Federal Subsistence Board is publishing a new regulation that reverses their unfounded and inappropriate conclusion that the federal subsistence protections afforded to rural residents of Alaska does not apply to the Organized Village of Saxman. I cannot understand why it has taken the federal government eight years to reverse this erroneous decision,” said Murkowski. “When the federal government arbitrarily redesignates an Alaska community as non-rural it does not just affect the community’s hunting and fishing privileges; it is an attack on the identity, the culture, and the fabric of the community itself.”

The new regulations can be read here and here. They are scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, November 4.

Background: This change in regulation comes months after Senator Murkowski introduced the Subsistence Access Management Act (SAcsMan Act), which legislatively restore Saxman’s rural status and require congressional consent for any further re-designation of an Alaskan community from rural to non-rural.