DEMOCRATS DEFEND FEDERAL MANAGEMENT OF ALASKA RESOURCES
Alaska Congressman Don Young and Sen. Dan Sullivan are working against the clock and also against Democrats from Outside states. The two Alaska lawmakers are attempting to overturn a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule that seized more than 77 million acres from Alaska’s fish and wildlife management last summer.
FWS took over management of 20 percent of Alaska’s lands with the final rule of Aug. 5, 2016. It was a power grab of historic proportions.
Young filed a resolution that will, if passed by both the House and Senate and signed by President Donald Trump, nullify the overreaching rule that swept aside guarantees made at Statehood that Alaska would manage fish and wildlife within its borders.
H.J. Res. 69 is expected to be voted on the House floor today, around 8 am Alaska time. A similar resolution is being worked through the Senate by Sen. Dan Sullivan.
Young and Sullivan are using the Congressional Review Act as a tool to overturn many of the politically motivated rules set forth by the Obama Administration during its final months.
The CRA, as the tool is called, allows Congress to review rules put in place 60 days prior to the end of the most recent administration.
Those days are counted by actual days Congress is in session. Because of the election season, it was out of session for much of the fall, so those 60 days have not yet expired.
Young spoke about the resolution in the House Rules Committee:
“We have to recognize this is not about the little polar bears, the little grizzly bears or wolves on television, this is about the state’s right to manage – not allowing the federal government to do so…We want to be able to take and manage our fish and game for the sustainable yield – so that our fish and game will be there forever… What they’re proposing, with their actions to take away our control, would preclude us from maintaining the species that are necessary in the state of Alaska – for the state. I urge you to [move this legislation forward], review this program, bring it to a vote, and get the federal government off states’ backs. The states have a right, under the law, especially the state of Alaska, to manage. To have an agency come in and say, ‘no you don’t,’ is just dead wrong.”
PUPPY KILLING ACT? ‘BULL POOP’
Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat of Colorado, argued colorfully against Alaska’s right to manage its own fish and wildlife, appearing to pull his remarks right out of a Humane Society talking points memo: “This bill should really be called ‘The Puppy Killing Act.’ What it does is it allows inhumane methods and cruel methods like killing pups and their mothers in and near their dens. It allows for killing brown bears over bait and scouting bears and shooting them and killing them from the air without landing…”
Young pushed back, with equal earthy color: “With the propaganda you are rehearsing here – putting forth to this committee – is full, full, full bull poop…”
The Humane Society of the United States has been running an aggressive anti-H.J. 69 campaign on YouTube that is almost parroted by the opponents of Alaska’s management of fish and game.
Democrat Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota argued against Young’s resolution: “Alaska’s aggressive predatory control practices and disregard for science-based management and the approach of the [FWS] service would negatively impact the ability of the ecosystems and wildlife throughout the region.”
Another Democrat — California Rep. Tony Cardenas, said the rule is meant to protect wolves, wolverines, bears, grizzly bears and lynx from “some of the most egregious hunting and killing methods.” He detailed several of those methods, which Young again called propaganda from the Humane Society and “a flat-out lie.”
“I understand where this pressure is coming from. We in Alaska face this pressure every day,” Young continued.
Young has received support from 27 organizations, including the National Rifle Association, Alaska Outdoor Council, Americans for Prosperity, and others who maintain that federal law grants the State of Alaska, with limited exception, the authority to manage fish and wildlife resources throughout Alaska. The Alaska Statehood Act granted Alaska authority and the Alaska Constitution requires management of wildlife and natural resources for “maximum use with the public interest.”
Young also offered other rollbacks of Obama-era rules, all of which are being fast-tracked for votes this week:
- H.J. Res. 36, to overturn the BLM’s “Venting and Flaring” rule.
- H.J. Res. 38, to overturn the Office of Surface Mining’s (OSM) Stream Protection Rule (SPR).
- H.J. Res. 40, to overturn a rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to the implementation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Improvement Amendments Act of 2007.
- H.J. Res. 44, to overturn the BLM’s Resource Management Planning rule, commonly known as the BLM’s “ Planning 2.0 Rule.”
If H.J. Res. 69 fails in the House or Senate, there is still recourse. In January, the State of Alaska filed a lawsuit over the Fish and Wildlife rule.
The lawsuit against former Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell contends that limiting predator control efforts on federal wildlife refuges encroaches on the state’s management authority. The 77 million acres covered by the rule comprises about 20 percent of the state.