Washington, D.C. – During House consideration of H.R. 2406, the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, Alaska Congressman Don Young successfully included an amendment to strike down recent rulemakings by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Park Service (NPS) upon federal lands in Alaska.
Young’s amendment, which builds upon language offered by Senator Dan Sullivan in the Senate’s Sportsman’s Package, would prohibit the FWS from implementing their January 8, 2016 proposed rule. Young’s amendment takes the issue one step further by requiring the withdrawal of an October 23, 2015 final rule issued by the NPS that preempts state management authority promised to Alaska under terms of the Alaska Statehood Compact and guaranteed under ANILCA.
Congressman Young speaking in favor of his amendment to reverse recent rulemaking by the FWS and NPS (click here to watch).
“The scope of the proposed Fish and Wildlife Service rule is enormous. There are 76.8 million acres of wildlife refuges in Alaska – an amount of land that is roughly equal in size to New Mexico,” said Congressman Don Young. “This is on top of the 20 million acres of Nation preserves in Alaska impacted by the Park Service rule. If these rules go unchallenged, it could have implications for the Lower 48. Alaska is often the first victim of regulatory overreach in this Administration. This is a sign of rules yet to come, in wildlife refuges across the country, so I would hope that other states are paying attention to what is happening here….The proposed regulations as currently written, will fundamentally alter not only how national wildlife refuges and the fish, wildlife, and habitats on them will be managed, but will also change the relationship of the Fish and Wildlife Service and Alaska from one of cooperation to servitude.”
Young and others argue that the proposed rules by the FWS and NPS violate the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), a law which protects the ability of the State of Alaska to manage wildlife across the state, on state, private, and federal lands. The State of Alaska, the Alaska Congressional delegation, and much of the hunting and angling community in Alaska oppose the rulemaking.
H.R. 2406, the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE), passed the House today by a vote of 242 to 161. The bipartisan package of bills focuses on protecting and enhancing opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting.
Importantly, the bill includes two stand alone bills sponsored by Congressman Young:
- This section represents a limited fix affecting roughly 41 American hunters, including two Alaskans, who are currently prohibited from importing their legally taken polar bear trophies into the United States.
- Although the Obama Administration has previously supported this provision, an amendment was offered to strip this provision from the bill. Young fought back against this amendment, calling it a “common sense solution that does right by our hunters."
- This section would effectively end the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s unilateral moratorium on the importation, exportation, and sale of lawfully possessed ivory, while also making significant efforts to assist anti-poaching efforts in countries with elephant populations.