When the Citizens’ Advisory Commission on Federal Areas last met, the theme was overreach from Washington. But this go-round, it seems the group is unexpectedly dealing with federal underreach.
Because of the government shutdown, none of the federal employees scheduled to address the commission this week have been able to appear. The irony hasn’t been lost on the group. When Craig Fleener, a deputy commissioner with the Department of Fish and Game, let the commission know that hunts could still take place at parks but that any activity needing paperwork couldn’t be done, the reaction was almost gleeful.
REP. WES KELLER (R-WASILLA): Another way to say that is maybe our parks are more open to us Alaskans than they ever have been.
FLEENER: Wide Open. As long as you don’t need a permit.
Hunting on refuges might be a different story. Gov. Sean Parnell has called for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to lift closures on those lands.
While nobody who works for the federal government has been able to speak before the commission, they did hear from a person who is aspiring to a job in Washington. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who is one of the Republican candidates for Senate, laid out his goals for federal land management Friday morning.
Speaking in his capacity as lieutenant governor, Treadwell said the federal government was guilty of “seriously ridiculous overreach.” He reiterated his support for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration and his opposition to a national oceans policy. He said would like to see a transfer of more federal land to the state, and progress on federal revenue sharing. Treadwell also said that when dealing with the federal government, Alaska should not be afraid to invoke the Tenth Amendment, which has been used in legal challenges over state sovereignty.
“The 10th amendment says ‘The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.’ Long live the 10th amendment. And long live courts that are beginning to give it justice and attention.”
The Citizens’ Advisory Commission on Federal Areas will continue to meet through Saturday. While the group does not have any regulatory authority, it will be presenting recommendations to the legislature on how the state should manage its relationship with the federal government when it comes to land use issues.