Fish and Wildlife takes 77 million acres



It’s our land, the feds say. And with the swoosh of a pen, another 77 million acres is now off limits to State of Alaska wildlife management practices.

The final ruling came yesterday from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The State remained silent as it yielded the sovereignty it was guaranteed at Statehood to federal control.

By taking management of fish and wildlife away from the State, the federal government broke another of its Statehood Act promises, and rural Alaskans lost even more access to subsistence.

The State of Alaska stood by and kicked at the dirt.

Fish and Wildlife’s action came on top of the 20 million acres already taken by the U.S. Park Service just a few months ago. In October, the Park Service overrode Alaska regulations pertaining to fish, wildlife and, specifically, to predator control. The Bureau of Land Management jumped in on the action and took yet another million acres in the Fortymile Area last month.

Nearly one hundred million acres gone from state management in six months.

The State of Alaska has fought this in the past because comprehensive management of fish and game is, quite clearly in law, a State right promised by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).

But in 2016, the State seems to have lost its will to fight the federal government on just about anything. Under the Gov. Walker Administration, the federal bureaucracy has moved in, and State sovereignty has stepped back.

Strangely, the final rule by Fish and Wildlife Service applies only to Alaska refuge land, not to other states. While the congressional delegation had asked FWS for an exemption for Alaska, what the agency instead did was make an example out of the state. Similar rules in other states will likely follow.

The Walker Administration remained mute. Why not file an injunction? Attorney General Craig Richards, who stepped down in June, said that no one had been harmed by this rule, therefore no legal action could be taken. One would need another John Sturgeon to step forward and file a lawsuit, he implied.

Another John Sturgeon will be hard to find. Most people aren’t willing, nor do they have the resources, to fight the federal government all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Via Must Read Alaska