Safari Club International (SCI), jointly with the National Rifle Association (NRA), has fought for and successfully represented the voice of hunters and outdoorsmen as defendant-intervenors in litigation heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Last week, the court tossed out a legal challenge to Congress’ repeal of restrictive hunting limitations in National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska, originally imposed by regulatory fiat at the tail end of the Obama administration.
After the inauguration of President Trump, Congressional Republicans utilized a little known law called the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that allowed Congress and the newly elected president to repeal a number of regulations imposed by the Obama Administration in the last 60 days of his time in office. One such regulation, officially repealed under the CRA in March of 2017, was a U.S Fish and Wildlife rule that prohibited many kinds of hunting on all sixteen federally owned wildlife refuges in Alaska. The regulation directly conflicted with state laws.
Even though Alaska’s Senators and Congressman all decried Obama’s rule change as a gross overstep by the federal government, radical green groups like the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) refused to listen. As a result, CBD sued the Department of the Interior to salvage the ill-advised regulation.
Last week’s decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to throw out this lawsuit reemphasizes the fact that “Congress’ efforts to exercise oversight of federal administrative agencies by means of the CRA are consistent with the ‘structure of this government’” but, more importantly, will ensure that National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska are managed by the state and sustainable use principles are applied to ensure “sustained populations for hunting.”
SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin applauded the Court’s decision, saying, “SCI has always worked to protect the state’s prerogative for fish and wildlife management against federal intrusion. The 9th Circuit Court’s decision last week ensures that Alaskan wildlife will continue to be managed by local experts and not by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. More broadly, the Court’s decision to uphold the legality of the CRA will further ensure future generations that Congress maintains its power to prevent the federal bureaucracy from encroaching on the autonomy of state governments."