The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and its appointed director, Dan Ashe, have issued new regulations closing 77 million acres of land in Alaska to state wildlife management, including effective predator control and other established means and methods of hunting and trapping.Historically, control of the wildlife in every state has been left to the states; we buy our hunting and fishing licenses from our state, not the Fed.gov. It's a recognition that the wildlife doesn't belong to landowners, it belongs to the people closest to it, the state. In this case, when Alaska was granted statehood in 1959, they were guaranteed ownership and control of game populations by Congress. No other state is more legally entitled to manage its game populations, including on federal lands within its border, than Alaska.
It is spelled out in multiple laws and agreements, and was debated three times by Congress, ultimately resulting in giving Alaska precedence, including:So that's three separate Federal laws the FWS is violating. You might ask why? Why now? It turns out it's the same sordid story as we find everywhere else with this administration: cronyism. Undue influence by left wing groups; in this case the HSUS - the Humane Society of the United States. Behind the scenes, the HSUS – the most powerful anti-hunting lobby in the world and a group that despises all forms of hunting and hunters – was thanked by FWS director Ashe in a tweet.
With the vested power of Congress, these acts were clearly approved.
- the Alaska Statehood Act (1959),
- the Alaska Lands Act (1980) which created most of the 77-million-acres of refuges at the center of this unprecedented power grab, and
- the Refuge Improvement Act (1997) which also made hunting and fishing priority public uses on all refuge lands
"For ... ALL Americans" except the public's voice has been systematically silenced. This was pure, banana republic, bureaucratic power grab, backed by the HSUS, an organization the country almost completely disagrees with. In my mind, I can hear the FWS director Ashe saying, " So what if we broke three acts of Congress? We're the Feds! Who's gonna stop us? You... punk?".
The stench gets stronger. The rule changes include provisions that abruptly deny American citizens of their collective voice relative to management of the National Wildlife Refuge through the following:For the second point, they're saying the public has no voice whatsoever in how their wildlife refuge is managed. Typical. As for the third point, if there is no maximum length, then how can it be a temporary closure? I'm sure you can envision a temporary closure that extends into years or decades just as easily as I can. When has a federal regulation not been stretched to benefit those in control?
[emphasis added: SiG]
- Doubling the length of emergency closures of refuge lands from 30 to 60 days
- Removing requirements for public hearings on such closures
- Complete elimination of the maximum length of a temporary closure
If Ashe and Pacelle were being honest with their Tweets and blogs, they’d say what these rule changes actually were: a successful usurpation of power by the federal government to advance an anti-hunting agenda in the bulwark state for hunters’ rights; an offensive move that will allow them to invade Western states and assume control of large swaths of federal public lands to eliminate hunting, trapping and other management methods with ease.Since this a violation of at least those three federal laws, in a sane world, this should be easily defeated. It does, however, require going to court, which invokes the massive legal expenses that are incurred whenever anyone fights the infinite checkbook of the Fed.gov. The Sportsmen's Alliance has already filed protests about this ruling. I don't know if this ruling is a "done deal" or if it's open for comments, but it appears to be a final ruling. The FWS, like every other federal agency, is required to follow the Administrative Procedures Act of 1946 when they announce new rules. I've been unable to find anything open for comment on Regulation.Gov, so it appears this may be too late to comment on. Or they figure that since they just violated three other major federal laws, what's one more?