October 15, 2013, Juneau, Alaska -- Continuing his commitment to Alaskans' access rights, Governor Sean Parnell today again urged Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Sally Jewell to open Alaska's federal refuges. The governor also underscored the significant financial impact of the refuge closures on Alaska's guides and support businesses.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has closed all refuge hunting and fishing opportunities until the government reopens. The National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management, however, have allowed continued use and access. In his third letter to the secretary, Governor Parnell again offered a no-cost option to allow state-authorized hunts and guided fishing in refuges.
"Supervision of these areas is not labor intensive, and all we ask is that outfitters and guides -- who already possess the requisite permits and certifications, and who have already paid for these permits -- be allowed to conduct their normal activities in federal refuges and that Alaskans be allowed to participate in the state-managed hunts that take place on federal lands," Governor Parnell wrote.
If the USFWS fails to reverse its shutdown of the federal refuges by the close of business today, the State of Alaska will seek a temporary restraining order from a federal court judge in Alaska.
"With everything else that is going on, litigation between our respective principals should be avoided," Governor Parnell added. "However, the financial impact and inconvenience to Alaskans can no longer be ignored, and we will seek to reopen these refuges based on the USFWS' failure to follow its own closure regulations and other inconsistent positions adopted by DOI, which have been repeatedly brought to your attention."
A copy of Governor Parnell's letter to Secretary Jewell is available at:
Only available in PDF format, please see source to view document.