October 03, 2008
“The State of Alaska does not accept Park Service officials stopping Alaskans on Alaskan waterways that are state-owned and subject to state authority,” said Governor Parnell. “In Alaska, our waterways are our highways, and we need to keep them free of unwarranted federal regulation that is inconsistent with state management authority.”
The Department of Law filed a formal petition with the Department of the Interior to rescind or revise the regulations that the Park Service contends give it enforcement powers on state-owned navigable waterways. State officials have attempted to engage the Park Service for months in discussions about the regulations but to no avail.
Meanwhile, the state also has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a criminal case in which the Park Service is charging an Alaskan for violating Park Service regulations while on the Yukon River, a state-owned waterway.
The governor thanked Anchorage Rep. Mike Hawker, sponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 10, which called on the administration to vigorously defend state authority against federal intrusion. The Legislature passed the resolution with only one dissenting vote.
Attorney General Dan Sullivan said that the Park Service regulations being challenged are inconsistent with the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980. “The Park Service is attempting to extend its law enforcement authority beyond National Park lands and into state-owned waterways, which, under ANILCA, are not subject to Park Service authority.”
Sullivan said the Parnell administration’s posture has been consistent on all issues involving potential federal overreach in issues affecting state resources. Examples include proposed wilderness designations in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, stonewalling of ConocoPhillips’ drilling plans in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, and unwarranted listings under the Endangered Species Act.
“We closely monitor federal activities and decisions,” Sullivan said. “And we work cooperatively with the feds when we can. Meanwhile, we research our legal options and prepare a strategy to protect Alaska’s right to control and develop our resources. And when appropriate, we strike with legal action that is backed up by strong evidence and expertise.”
On the Web:
The Friend of the Court Brief in U.S. v. Wilde and the Petition for Rule Making to Secretary Salazar
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