Murkowski wants to change federal ‘rural’ label process

A U.S. senator for Alaska has introduced legislation that would reverse a 2007 federal decision designating Saxman a nonrural community, making residents ineligible for subsistence hunting and fishing on federal land.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports that a bill from Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, would reinstate the list of rural Alaska communities as it stood prior to 2007.

In that year, the Federal Subsistence Board’s rural determination criteria put Saxman within Ketchikan’s nonrural designation, sparking protest from the Saxman community.

Murkowski’s legislation would also bar the federal government from changing the status of Saxman or other Alaska communities unless done through an act of Congress.

It has been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which Murkowski chairs.