Anchorage, Alaska --
"Here again, outside interests, especially interests from California, trying to tell Alaskans what to do. That doesn't bode well for anyone trying to do such a thing here in Alaska. Alaskans are pretty doggone independent," Palin said
Tuesday, California Democratic Congressman George Miller introduced a bill that would effectively ground Alaska's aerial predator control program.
Miller said despite what Gov. Palin thinks, it's an issue of national importance.
"You know that's an old Alaskan line, you know, that nobody can have any say about this. People look at the wildlife in this country and they look at it as a national treasure," Miller said.
Miller's bill, called "The PAW Act," which stands for "Protect America's Wildlife," would only allow predator hunts from planes to prevent a biological emergency, and only if the best available science shows that species, like moose and caribou, were in an irreversible decline because of predators.
John Toppenberg, with the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, agrees with the bill.
"If there is in fact a biological emergency, the state would be allowed to use aircraft to take predators. This bill does not say that the state can't use it, it just says it's got to have accepted science," Toppenberg said.
Even then, the shooting could only be done by a state or federal wildlife employee and not by deputized hunters, as Alaska currently allows.
"I've hunted my whole life but I never thought I had to run an animal down in an airplane," Miller said.
Gov. Palin said the California congressman just doesn't understand life in rural Alaska.
"If we're not allowed to have a scientifically based, very sensible predator control program, especially in rural Alaska, we will see a diminished population of moose and caribou. Those types of game that fill Alaska's freezers," Palin said.
She plans to send a strongly worded letter to Miller tomorrow to let him know exactly how she feels about what she calls an unprecedented federal incursion into Alaska's state rights.
Alaskans have twice rejected aerial wolf hunting, another statewide vote on the issue is set for August 2008.
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