by Phillip Manning ~ July 30th, 2013
“By many, many people’s account, we’re probably at a low ebb in our relationship with the federal government.”
That’s State Representative Wes Keller, who is the chair of the Citizens’ Advisory Council on Federal Areas. Keller says that the problems the federal overreach summit will address range from having trouble contacting government representatives to refusal of land access. He cites the case of John Sturgeon’s troubles with Park Service in the Yukon-Charley Preserve.
Several years ago, he was hunting with a properly licensed boat. He had proper hunting licences. Everything was up to snuff, but he was told to leave by the U.S. Park. He was on navigable water in Alaska, and that is clearly, in my interpretation of the law, a problem.”
Sturgeon sued the federal government over the refusal, and was supported by Governor Parnell’s administration. Keller says that one goal is to gather stories like Sturgeon’s, where Alaskans feel their rights have been violated, but that the ultimate goal is to formulate responses to federal agencies.
“There’s any number of things. I wouldn’t want to second-guess what those outcomes that get suggested might be, because they will be the product of the people that are involved in the summit. I would guess that possibilities are extended or expanded litigation, which we are already doing in the state, or legislation and resolutions. Those are the straightforward ones, but there’s a lot of options.”
Representative Keller says that Senator Murkowski has expressed interest in the summit, and Representative Young is confirmed as an attendee, as the summit falls during a Congressional recess.