Alaska Will Challenge Federal Management Rule
September 12, 2016
Editorial Staff (286 articles)
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Alaska Will Challenge Federal Management Rule

Alaska claims federal overreach

Alaska officials plan to challenge in court a federal rule governing wildlife management on refuges there, hoping to end what they say is federal overreach by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

The FWS recently adopted a final rule on predator harvests on wildlife refuges in Alaska, which state wildlife managers say violates the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, the Refuge Improvement Act, and the Alaska Constitution.

The rule prohibits taking black or brown bear cubs or sows with cubs, taking brown bears over bait, taking bears using traps or snares, taking wolves and coyotes from May 1 to Aug. 9, and taking bears from an aircraft or on the same day as air travel has occurred.

In 2015 the National Park Service (NPS), also under the Department of the Interior, placed similar restrictions on national park lands there.

While no litigation has been filed at this time, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker told the “Alaska Journal of Commerce” this week the state is planning a lawsuit to stop implementation of the rule, and is consulting with stakeholders and governors of other Western states because the federal overreach is a state’s rights issue.

FWS officials haven’t given one example of how these changes were necessary to ensure viable populations of any wildlife species. In fact, a statement by FWS Director Dan Ashe stated the rule was implemented, “In response to public interest and concern about predator harvests on national wildlife refuges across Alaska.”

State and federal officials have always partnered on wildlife management. But Alaska officials say the FWS’s recent actions cater to outside groups like the Humane Society of the U.S. and other environmental groups at the expense of the people relying on the resource.

Read more in the Outdoor Wire.

Brocken Inaglory photo via Wikipedia

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