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Zinke reaffirms state primacy over wildlife management


Cara J
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In a Sept. 10 memo to Interior Department bureau and office heads, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke reaffirmed “the authority of the State to exercise their broad trustee and police powers as stewards of the Nation’s fish and wildlife species on public lands and waters under the jurisdiction of the Department.” Noting the states have fish and wildlife agencies specifically charged with exercising their responsibilities as trustees for fish and wildlife, Zinke asserted that these agencies have “consistently demonstrated their commitment to sustaining fish and wildlife resources in perpetuity.” “The Department recognizes States as the first-line authorities for fish and wildlife management and hereby expresses its commitment to defer to the State in this regard except as otherwise required by Federal law,” he wrote. The memo serves to reaffirm a policy set forth in 1983, which recognizes “the basic role of the States in fish and resident wildlife management, especially where States have primary authority and responsibility, and to foster improved conservation of fish and wildlife.” In the memo, Zinke tasks Interior officials with developing a plan to better align the department’s policies regarding fish and wildlife management with those of the states. To do so, he asks all Interior bureaus [...]

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