An environmental organization is suing the Trump administration because he repealed a wildlife protection rule.
A few years ago, I was in a Bell 212 helicopter. The doors were off, and we were flying to a wildfire near Kinbasket Lake, just outside of a little mountain town called Golden, British Columbia. The sun was just rising over the jagged, snow-capped horizon and in the early morning light, the lake glittered a few thousand feet below. As we flew low along a ridgeline, a bear and three of her cubs spooked and ran out from under their cover, barreling through a narrow strip of grass just a few feet from the cliff’s edge. The narrow strip opened into a mountain-top meadow sprayed with tiny yellow and purple flowers, and the bears charged through it until they hit the tree line and disappeared into the shadows. It was fucking beautiful. Why am I telling you that story? Well now–if that happened in Alaska–because of President Trump’s repeal of a wildlife protection rule, I could have leaned out the side of the 212 and shot them before they got away. Pow! Right in the kisser!
Back in February, Congress used something called the Congressional Review Act to take apart an Obama-era rule that limited hunting on Alaskan federal land. “The rule had exempted wolves and bears from Alaska’s plans to control predators, which included killing wolves and their pups in their dens and shooting bears from planes,” wrote Lisa Lambert for Reuters.
Since the regulation is a fresh one, Congress only needs a simple majority and Trump’s John Hancock to get rid of it. And Trump, because he is Trump, signed with typical Trump-ian flourish. Since the beginning of February, the President has been on a signing frenzy, repealing rules every chance he gets. So far, there’ve been 13, all of which pertain to the environment, education, gun control, corruption, and family planning.
The lawsuit, brought by the Center for Biological Diversity–which apparently doesn’t have much of shot–said: “the CRA violated the US Constitution because it barred regulators in the future from enacting ‘substantially similar’ rules to the ones repealed.”
Don’t get me wrong, here. I’m not against hunting. In fact, I’m all for it, as long as it’s not trophy hunting. You want to go out, shoot a deer, skin it out, butcher it, and feed your family and friends for months with healthy meat? Do it. It’s better for you and the environment.
Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan was in favor of the repeal, saying that the rule is “about subsistence.” The idea behind it is that hunting predators will boost populations of moose and caribou, which will make hunting them easier for people who live in remote regions. Basically, as all things seem to come down to, it’s a fundamental disagreement about what the purpose of state and federal wildlife management is actually supposed to manage: biodiversity or hunting?
“The federal government has argued that the goal on refuges and in parks should be biodiversity,” wrote Erica Martinson for ADN. “The state Board of Game has an interest in ensuring maximum sustained populations for hunting.”