JUNEAU – Governor Bill Walker thanked Congress and the President today for taking action to overturn federal regulations that prohibit certain hunting methods on national wildlife refuges.
“I applaud the action taken by the federal government to reverse this restrictive order,” said Governor Walker. “Alaskans have a unique relationship with our land, and these one-size-fits-all regulations would be a great burden to our residents. Many rural communities do not have a Costco or Fred Meyer to shop at, so hunting and fishing are a basic means of survival. The rules put forward by the previous administration did not support that, and I am glad to see these corrections have been made.”
In 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service adopted regulations that would limit hunting on national wildlife refuges covering nearly 80 million acres in Alaska, and preempt state management of wildlife. This action was contrary to state and federal law, and the State of Alaska filed suit in January 2017 challenging these regulations along with regulations adopted in 2015 by the National Park Service. The hunting methods restricted in the original regulations included traditional methods of harvest practiced by Alaska’s subsistence users for generations.
“Passage of this resolution reaffirms our state sovereignty, and the state’s authority to manage fish and wildlife statewide, including on federal public lands,” said Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth. “Alaskans depend on wildlife for food. Reversal of these regulations will allow residents to continue their hunting and gathering traditions.”
“The state will continue to manage fish and wildlife in a sustainable manner that supports a variety of uses,” said Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten. “We look forward to working with our federal partners to maintain a cooperative relationship going forward.”
The State’s challenge to the National Park Service regulations are unaffected by revocation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations. The National Park Service regulations apply to national preserves in Alaska totaling 20 million acres.