SCI Testifies On Alaska Lands Law Before Senate Committee

Director of Litigation, Anna Seidman gives testimony in Senate Hearing.

Director of Litigation, Anna Seidman gives testimony in Senate Hearing.

At an oversight hearing held to evaluate the impacts of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), SCI testified to advocate for those who live in and travel to Alaska to enjoy the state’s hunting opportunities. Anna Seidman, Director of Litigation for SCI, testified on the organization’s behalf at the December 3rd hearing. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, presided over the hearing.

After describing Safari Club as the most influential hunting organization in the country, Ms. Seidman recalled for the Committee that it was a lawsuit concerning ANILCA that brought her and litigation advocacy to SCI over 16 years ago. She explained that the ANILCA lawsuit formed the basis for what is now a multi-attorney litigation department that has enabled SCI to become the leader in litigation advocacy for the hunting community.

SCI’s testimony focused on recent federal regulatory actions that directly conflict with ANILCA and Alaska state laws and policies. Under new National Park Service rules, the NPS has asserted authority to dictate what should and should not qualify as ethical hunting in Alaska. In addition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expects to adopt new rules that will assert their authority to manage wildlife on Alaska wildlife refuges according to so-called “natural diversity” principles. The FWS likely will use this authority to justify decisions in which they will refuse to intervene while predator populations decimate prey populations.

After the witnesses had presented their testimony, Chairman Murkowski asked several questions and solicited from each witness two desired changes in the text or implementation of ANILCA. Ms. Seidman took advantage of the opportunity to recommend that state wildlife officials be treated on equal footing with their federal counterparts for the purpose of wildlife management decision-making in Alaska. Ms. Seidman also recommended that federal managers adhere to ANILCA’s requirement for a management approach that conserves all wildlife in balance, including between predator and prey species. Read Ms. Seidman’s complete testimony here.

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