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Alaska Delegation Works Together to Reverse Harmful U.S. Fish and Wildlife Rule

Young's Legislation Passes Senate, Headed to President’s Desk

WASHINGTON, DC – The Alaska Congressional Delegation today applauded the Senate’s passage of H.J. Res. 69, a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to overturn an August 2016 final rule issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that significantly undermines public participation and restricts the state’s ability to manage fish and wildlife on federal refuge lands in Alaska. H.J. Res. 69 was introduced by Alaska Congressman Don Young and passed the House February 16, 2017.

“Since its inception, I’ve worked to overturn this shortsighted and illegal rulemaking by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife,” said sponsor of H.J. Res. 69 Congressman Don Young. “Not only was it a massive jurisdictional power grab, it clearly undermined the laws passed by Congress to protect Alaska’s authority to manage fish and wildlife upon all our lands. Today’s actions represent an enormous victory not only for Alaska and our cooperative game management system, but also for those across the country concerned with future government encroachment. Overturning this rule could not be possible without the support of Senator Dan Sullivan and Senator Lisa Murkowski, the State of Alaska – who is fighting this battle in court – and the numerous stakeholders that joined our cause. Alaskans take the management of our lands and wildlife extremely serious, and this resolution is an important step to protecting that authority. I encourage President Trump to sign this resolution and put the final nail in the coffin for this egregious rule.”

Congressman Young Applauds Senate Passage of H.J. Res. 69 (click here to watch)

“Working closely with Senator Lisa Murkowski and Congressman Don Young, we were able to convince our colleagues that today’s vote was about undoing a serious and unlawful regulation promulgated by the Fish and Wildlife Service in August 2016. In Alaska, many hunt for survival, both personal and cultural,” said Senator Sullivan. “Alaskans have been able to maintain these strong and life-sustaining traditions through a rigorous scientific process that allows for public participation and ensures we manage our fish and game for sustainability, as required by the Alaska Constitution.

CLICK HERE to watch Sen. Sullivan’s floor speech in support of H.J Res. 69

“This regulation usurped the state’s authority in Alaska – and could have been used as a precedent in other states. I appreciate all the work that Congressman Young did in shepherding this resolution through the House, and am thankful that my colleagues recognized that this resolution was backed by the force of law, the principle of federalism, and respect for all Alaskans, including the Alaska Native people who have been hunting, fishing and subsisting off the land for generations,” Senator Sullivan concluded.

“Congress explicitly provided Alaska with the authority to manage its fish and wildlife in not one, not two, but three separate laws - the Alaska Statehood Act, ANILCA, and the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act,” Senator Murkowski said. “It is clear that these laws firmly placed that right and responsibility in the hands of Alaskans, and I thank my Senate colleagues for recognizing this today. The sustainability of Alaska’s ecosystems depends on professional management of fish and game populations, and no one understands these well-established, best practices better than our wildlife management professionals in Alaska. By overturning this rule, we can now rely on them to protect our fishing and hunting traditions for generations to come.”

Background Information:

On August, 5, 2016, FWS issued its final rule, which seizes authority away from the State of Alaska to manage fish and wildlife for both recreational and subsistence uses on federal lands in Alaska.

Congressman Young has work tirelessly in the U.S. House of Representatives to overturn the FWS a rule, efforts he’s called “an important step to enforcing the law and restoring Alaska’s federally protected ability to manage fish and game.”

  • On February 26, 2016, Congressman Young successfully included an amendment within the House passed H.R. 2406, the Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, to strike the FWS proposed rule. The amendment passed 236 to 169.
  • On July 14, 2016, Congressman Young successfully included an amendment to the FY 17 Department of Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, that would have prohibited funds from being used to issue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule. The amendment was passed by voice vote.

The Congressional Review Act is a powerful tool being deployed by Congress to overturn politically motivated rules finalized in the waning days and months of the Obama administration. With the passage H.J. Res 69 in the House and Senate and the signature of the president, Young’s resolution would ensure that the final FWS rule would have no force or effect, and that no substantially similar rule can be issued in the future without a subsequent authorization from Congress.

  • Click here for additional information on Congressman Young’s efforts to overturn the FWS rule.
  • Click here for background information on H.J. Res. 69.

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