The state of Alaska is caught up in two fish and wildlife-related lawsuits in federal courts that could set precedents around the nation for years to come, both of which heavily involve the Kenai Peninsula.
In the first, the state government is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service for rules instituted under the prior administration restricting certain hunting practices on wildlife refuges and national preserves in Alaska. The National Park Service finalized the rules in October 2015 and Fish and Wildlife in 2016, and the state subsequently sued in January 2017 in the U.S. District Court of Alaska to overturn them. The state argues that the agencies are effectively intervening with the state’s ability to regulate game populations on the vast tracts of federal land.
In March 2017, Congress repealed part of the rules adopted by Fish and Wildlife through a House Joint Resolution, which President Donald Trump subsequently signed into law in April. However, that resolution did not include the National Park Service rules, nor did it include separate rules specifically on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
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• Elizabeth Earl is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion and can be reached at email@example.com.