Suzanne Downing; Must Read Alaska; February 22, 2017
JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today approved a resolution supporting U.S. Rep. Don Young’s effort to overturn an 11th-hour rule by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that took away fish and game management from the State of Alaska on 77 million acres of federal refuge lands.
The state resolution encourages Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan to work effectively together to pass House Joint Resolution 69 in the U.S. Senate, so it can go to the president’s desk for signature.
Sen. Cathy Giessel’s resolution passed easily by a vote of 15 to 4. Senators Tom Begich, Bill Wielechowski, Berta Gardner and Dennis Egan, all Democrats, voted against it, while Republican David Wilson of District D had left the floor before the vote.
Wielechowski spoke against the resolution, bringing up his objections to predator control, which was the reason the Fish and Wildlife Service gave for developing a closed-door regulation with the cooperation of the Humane Society.
Alaska’s senators have been under intense pressure from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the Humane Society, both of which have made false claims that Alaska allows hunters to hunt grizzly bears from airplanes and kill wolf pups in their dens. Neither of these hunting practices are allowed in Alaska, but these “fake news” claims have received wide press coverage and have been promoted across social media.
After the federal agency in August took over fish and game management on lands traditionally managed by Alaska, its director sent a congratulatory note of thanks to the chief executive officer of the Humane Society:
The Humane Society’s defacto federal rule-making that Wielechowski, Gardner, Begich, and Egan clearly support was done without consultation with the State of Alaska, Alaska Natives, the hunting community or other stakeholders. Yet, Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society was on the inside of the rule-making process.
LIMITS ON BUREAUCRATS
Alaska’s Senate Resolution 4 gives full-throated support to U.S. Rep. Young’s H.J.Res. 69, which seized authority from the State to manage fish and wildlife for both recreational and subsistence uses on 77-million acres of federal lands in Alaska. H.J.Res. 69 passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a nearly partisan vote, and is on its way to the Senate.
“We sent a clear message today to the unelected bureaucrats in Washington D.C. — Congress writes laws, not you,” said Sen. Giessel .
“One of the iron-clad promises at statehood was the promise by the federal government that the state will be the primary authority for managing its fish and wildlife,” said Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole. “The federal government – in direct violation of the statehood act, the Alaska Constitution and relevant precedent – is directly undermining that authority via unilateral rule-making. No more.”
Sen. Giessel’s resolution asks U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski to make every possible effort to see that the resolution is also passed in the U.S. Senate.
“Unelected federal bureaucrats are not the ultimate power in Alaska, even if they’d like to be.” said Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks. “Congressman Young deserves our support in his fight to restore local management over fish and game.”