Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - On Tuesday, the State of Alaska asked the Ninth Circuit to reconsider its decision and direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to comply with ANILCA.
The request would allow the state to manage the methods and means of hunting in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
According to the Alaska Attorney General's Office, in 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enacted a ban on the use of bait to hunt brown bears in a significant area of the Kenai Peninsula.
Though Congress invalidated a statewide ban of this hunting practice the following year in Center for Biological Diversity v. Bernhardt, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife continues to enforce the ban in the Kenai Refuge.
“Any attempt to legislate through policy by unelected officials sets a dangerous precedent to all states,” said Gov. Mike Dunleavy. “We hope the entire Ninth Circuit will hear this case and see the error in the panel’s initial decision that failed to recognize that Congress has left these issues to the states.”
Similar to the Park Service’s attempt to tell John Sturgeon that he could no longer drive his hovercraft on the Nation River, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is now controlling the methods and means of hunting in Alaska.
“Federal employees living in D.C. should not control how Alaskans hunt,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Douglas Vincent-Lang. “Congress sought to protect local control over hunting when it passed ANILCA, and it should be local citizens that make these decisions. “
“Based on the protections and rights granted to us at statehood, Alaskans control the means and methods by which we secure our food and protect our natural resources,” said Attorney General Treg Taylor. “We are fighting Federal overreach to ensure that Alaskans make these critical decisions for our state.”
The appeal states “The President, acting through the Service, has not complied with his constitutional obligation and continues to enforce a regulation that prohibits brown bear baiting in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.”