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U.S. Department of Interior Announces Sweeping Review of Federal Subsistence Policy


Anchorage, Alaska – Oct. 23, 2009 – U.S. Department of the Interior officials announced a comprehensive review by the Obama Administration of Federal subsistence policy at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention today. The review of the subsistence management program may determine changes in how Federal agencies manage subsistence hunting and fishing on Federal lands, said Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar in a video announcement.

“The system, frankly, today is broken,” said Interior Secretary Salazar.

Kim Elton, Secretary Salazar’s Senior Advisor for Alaska, elaborated on the process, which will begin immediately and end by January 2010, when the Federal Subsistence Board reconvenes. 

“The policy will be informed by those who must live with it,” said Elton.  “It will be based upon science and traditional knowledge. “  He reiterated the Obama Administration’s commitment to the ANILCA mandate.

Elton also said that the Secretary would appoint a new chair of the Subsistence Board and urged the attendees to suggest names for that leadership position.  He said that Pat Pourchot, the Secretary’s Assistant in Alaska, will be the point person for this effort.

When asked about the rule making process, Elton explained that the Secretarial review will be more informal than the usual regulatory review and may lead to a full public process to rewrite Federal regulations in the future.

AFN President Julie Kitka said, “We’re looking forward to the full federal review and are pleased that it will be implemented by January. We have high expectations for President Obama and his administration.”

The 2009 AFN Convention is streaming live online at www.nativefederation.org.

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