The NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) praised the passage of H.J. Res. 69 earlier today—a joint resolution overturning the Obama Administration’s rule stripping away Alaska’s authority to manage its fish and wildlife on federal wildlife refuges statewide. Introduced by Rep. Don Young (R-AK), the resolution, which passed 225-193, prevents setting a dangerous precedent for the Lower 48 favoring top-down management policies of wildlife refuges and reverses the negative impacts on Americans who pursue fish and wildlife on national refuges.
“This joint resolution puts an end to the Obama administration's last minute attack on outdoorsmen,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA-ILA. “By relying on sound science for their unique conservation and management decisions, the proud outdoor heritage of Alaska will be preserved for generations to come."
For those new to the storyline, as previously reported by NRAHLF.ORG, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service(USFWS)—under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of the Interior—published a rule on Aug. 5 shutting down the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s (ADFG) predator management authority on all 77 million acres of National Wildlife Refuges within the state’s boundaries. The rule, titled, “Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska,” marked a blatant power grab by unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., that ignored states’ rights, granted the USFWS authority over Alaska’s predator control, shut down Alaska’s science-based practices and broke state and federal laws—including Alaska’s constitutional mandate to manage its fish and wildlife under the principles of sustained yield. Also important, many Alaskans subsistence-hunt for survival. Without the authority to control its predators, Alaska would no longer be able to manage its bull-to-cow and buck-to-doe ratios, ultimately depleting the prey populations on which many Alaskans rely.
Fortunately, the Congressional Review Act (CRA) came into play—a powerful Congressional resolution of disapproval to overturn last-minute regulations from the previous administration under an expedited legislative process. Its passage ensures that no substantially similar rule can be issued in the future.
“Preserving the right of Alaska to manage its wildlife is a victory for outdoorsmen in all 50 states,” Cox added. “On behalf of the NRA and our 5 million members, I would like to thank Congressman Don Young (R-AK) and Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) for their hard work on this issue and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) for their leadership.”
Leading Up to Today's Vote
As covered by NRAHLF.org, on Jan. 13, the State of Alaska filed a lawsuit against the outgoing Department of the Interior (DOI) and DOI Secretary Sally Jewell, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service leaders to overturn the August 2016 rule. Alaska Natives, Alaska hunting and angling communities, and wildlife associations all made it clear that they were opposed.
On Feb. 6, the National Rifle Association and 26 other organizations representing millions of hunters, other conservationists and wildlife scientists sent a letter to Speaker of the House Cong. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Majority Leader Cong. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) expressing strong support of Cong. Young’s resolution to restore the jurisdictional state-federal relationship as Congress had previously directed. To read the letter, click here.
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