The Senate voted late Tuesday to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal a major last minute Obama-era regulation limiting hunting and fishing in Alaska.
The House voted to repeal the rule in February, with five Democrats joining the effort. The Senate passed the CRA in a party-line vote, and only Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, joined Republicans to vote for the repeal.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign the CRA, repealing a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule issued towards the end of the Obama administration.
The rule reinterpreted federal law to sharply limit recreational and subsistence hunting and fishing on national wildlife refuges in Alaska.
“This CRA ensures that the role of states will not be supplanted by the federal government. States are the experts and more than capable of responsibly managing wildlife,” Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop said in a press statement.
“If the federal government supersedes the State of Alaska, it could happen to any one of the lower 48 states,” said Bishop, who chairs House Committee on Natural Resources. “I look forward to President Trump signing this joint resolution into law.”
Alaska’s government disliked the rule, and claimed it created a system of top-down decisions from the federal government. Alaska had filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior to overturn the rule.
“These efforts have the State of Alaska’s full support to eliminate what we believe is the unlawful preemption of the traditional state-federal jurisdictional relationship for the management of fish and wildlife that was the intent of Congress through the Alaska Statehood Act, the Alaska National Interest Land Conservations Act, and the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act,” Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game said in a letter to Congress.
Opening up public lands in Alaska to oil and gas drilling would create an estimated 736,000 new American jobs, according to economic analysis. A Yale University study in 2007 showed that the oil beneath the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could be worth $374 billion at oil prices only a little above today’s.
There is a 95 percent probability that at least 5.7 billion barrels of oil are recoverable in ANWR, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
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