Press Release

Alaska Seeks to Intervene in Lawsuit Challenging Congressional Review Act

June 1, 2017

(Juneau, AK) – The State of Alaska filed a request yesterday to intervene in support of Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in a federal lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity. The lawsuit challenges the validity of the Congressional Review Act, under which Congress and the President recently revoked regulations adopted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that would have restricted hunting methods and means on refuges throughout Alaska. The plaintiff claims the Congressional Review Act is unconstitutional and wants to reinstate the hunting restrictions. The State is seeking to join the lawsuit to defend the repeal of the restrictions.

"The elimination of the improper hunting restrictions allows the State to continue managing wildlife for all Alaskans," said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten. "We understand the importance of wildlife to our state and our focus is on maintaining populations into the future."

The State supports use of the Congressional Review Act, and had urged the Alaska delegation to take action under the law to revoke the regulations. This law allows Congress with approval from the President to repeal regulations adopted within 60 legislative days (which could be as long as 6 months) of the previous administration, and this is the first time it has been used to address a regulation intended to impact a single state.

"We are pleased that our congressional delegation made it a priority to reverse these unnecessary hunting restrictions affecting 80 million acres in Alaska," said Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth. "The rules adopted by the last administration clearly infringed on Alaska’s sovereign right to manage the harvest of fish and game in Alaska."

The State filed a separate lawsuit challenging the regulations in January, along with a challenge to similar regulations adopted by the National Park Service. The State filed an amended complaint in that lawsuit yesterday, and is now waiting for a response from the federal government.

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