Wolf Song of Alaska News


Palin Administration Looks to Redesign Predator Control in Alaska

Jason Moore / KTUU-TV / January 29, 2008

Critics of the bill say it strips the requirements for the Board of Game to consider science before implementing predator control. (KTUU-TV)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The Legislature is preparing to take up a bill that would reshape Alaska's predator control laws.   

The bill comes from the Palin administration, which says it wants to clear up confusion in the laws and avoid future legal challenges to the programs.   

But critics say it strips the requirements for the Board of Game to consider science before implementing predator control.

Alaska Field Representative for the Defenders of Wildlife Tom Banks (Kyle Stalder/KTUU-TV)

  

State officials say the Palin administration is proposing amendments to the intensive management law and the same-day airborne law in order to avoid future challenges.

Those changes are drawing fire from wildlife advocates.   

One change would delete a portion of the same-day airborne law that says the Board of Game would have to determine predation is an important cause due to the failure to achieve population objectives as defined by information from the Department of Fish and Game.

Another clause that faces deletion states, "a reduction of predation can reasonably be expected to aid in the achievement of the objectives."

"I just think it's a really bad bill it just takes away all need for the Board of Game to consider the science behind it whatsoever whether you agree one group or the department has adequate science for this isn't even part of the issue," said Alaska Field Representative for the Defenders of Wildlife Tom Banks.

The state says that's not case. Officials say the board will continue to rely on data from state biologists before implementing programs to kill wolves or bears.

"It's my intention to allow science to dictate, not personal feelings or politics, to get into a decision like this," said Gov. Palin.

Gov. Sarah Palin (Dan Carpenter/KTUU-TV)

Backers of predator control say the only difference the amendments will have is to limit the legal challenges by opponents of the practice.

"What it will do is alleviate the amount of time and money the state has spent having to defend the program in the courts against challenges by defenders of wildlife," Alaska Outdoor Council Executive Director Rod Arno said.

The bill gets its first hearing in Juneau Wednesday, where lawmakers will hear from both sides in Alaska's lingering predator control debate.

That hearing will be in the House Resources Committee at 1 p.m.

Contact Jason Moore at jmoore@ktuu.com

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