Zinke Wants States To Take The Lead On Hunting And Fishing Regs

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke ordered a review of federal hunting and fishing regulations Monday to find areas where federal standards can be shifted in line with state law.

The environmental group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) obtained Zinke’s order through a public records request. The memo went out to the heads of all Department of the Interior (DOI) bureaus and offices, granting them 45 days to identify cases where federal law exceeds state regulations governing fish and wildlife management.

The DOI will craft new regulations that better align with state laws and programs that will take the lead on fishing, hunting and animal conservation.

“The [DOI] recognizes States as the first-line authorities for fish and wildlife management and hereby expresses its commitment to defer to the states in this regard except as otherwise required by federal law,” the memo says.

PEER executive director Jeff Ruch condemned Zinke’s memo, arguing that state policy decisions will be motivated by profits from hunting and fishing licenses rather than conservation.

States often use hunting and fishing license revenues to fund conservation and animal habitat protection programs.

“This across-the-board abandonment of federal fish and wildlife safeguards is rooted in an ideological stance unsupported by any factual analysis,” Ruch said in a statement. “Federal parks, preserves, and refuges have a mission to protect biodiversity and should not be reduced to game farms.”

The memo follows a National Park Service proposal to rescind rules enacted under former-President Barack Obama that took away state authority to regulate some hunting practices. (RELATED: Trump Is Lifting Obama-Era Regs Off Alaska Hunters)

Hunters in Alaska resented the Obama-era regulations and claimed they were attempting to institute urban values on rural Americans.

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