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Proposed Rule

Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, Subpart C and Subpart D-2005-2006 Subsistence Taking of Wildlife Regulations

Action

Proposed Rule.

Summary

This proposed rule would establish regulations for hunting and trapping seasons, harvest limits, methods and means related to taking of wildlife for subsistence uses during the 2005-2006 regulatory year. The rulemaking is necessary because Subpart D is subject to an annual public review cycle. When final, this rulemaking would replace the wildlife taking regulations included in the “Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, Subpart D—2004-2005 Subsistence Taking of Fish and Wildlife Regulations,” which expire on June 30, 2005. This rule would also amend the Customary and Traditional Use Determinations of the Federal Subsistence Board and the General Regulations related to the taking of wildlife.

Unified Agenda

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

The Federal Subsistence Board must receive your written public comments and proposals to change this proposed rule no later than October 22, 2004. Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils (Regional Councils) will hold public meetings to receive proposals to change this proposed rule on several dates starting from September 8, 2004-October 15, 2004. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for additional information on the public meetings including dates.

ADDRESSES: Back to Top

You may submit proposals electronically to Subsistence@fws.gov. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for file formats and other information about electronic filing. You may also submit written comments and proposals to the Office of Subsistence Management, 3601 C Street, Suite 1030, Anchorage, Alaska 99503. The public meetings will be held at various locations in Alaska. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for additional information on locations of the public meetings.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Chair, Federal Subsistence Board, c/o U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attention: Thomas H. Boyd, Office of Subsistence Management; (907) 786-3888. For questions specific to National Forest System lands, contact Steve Kessler, Regional Subsistence Program Leader, USDA, Forest Service, Alaska Region, (907) 786-3592.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

Public Review Process—Regulation Comments, Proposals, and Public Meetings Back to Top

The Federal Subsistence Board (Board), through the Regional Councils, will hold meetings on this proposed rule at the following locations and on the following dates in Alaska:

Region 1—Southeast Regional Council Juneau September 27, 2004.
Region 2—Southcentral Regional Council Kenai October 12, 2004.
Region 3—Kodiak/Aleutians Regional Council King Cove October 5, 2004.
Region 4—Bristol Bay Regional Council Dillingham September 27, 2004.
Region 5—Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional Council Bethel October 14, 2004.
Region 6—Western Interior Regional Council Anvik October 10, 2004.
Region 7—Seward Peninsula Regional Council Nome September 22, 2004.
Region 8—Northwest Arctic Regional Council Kotzebue October 8, 2004.
Region 9—Eastern Interior Regional Council Eagle October 5, 2004.
Region 10—North Slope Regional Council Barrow September 8, 2004.

Specific dates, times, and meeting locations will be published in local and statewide newspapers prior to the meetings. Locations and dates may change based on weather or local circumstances. The amount of work on each Regional Council's agenda will determine the length of the Regional Council meetings. The agenda of each Regional Council meeting will include a review of wildlife issues in the Region, discussion and development of recommendations on fishery proposals for the Region, and staff briefings on matters of interest to the Council.

Electronic filing of comments (preferred method): You may submit electronic comments (proposals) and other data to Subsistence@fws.gov. Please submit as MS Word files, avoiding the use of any special characters and any form of encryption.

During November 2004, we will compile the written proposals to change Subpart D hunting and trapping regulations and customary and traditional use determinations in Subpart C and distribute them for additional public review. A 30-day public comment period will follow distribution of the compiled proposal packet. We will accept written public comments on distributed proposals during the public comment period, which is presently scheduled to end on January 5, 2005.

A second series of Regional Council meetings will be held in February and March 2005, to assist the Regional Councils in developing recommendations to the Board. You may also present comments on published proposals to change hunting and trapping and customary and traditional use determination regulations to the Regional Councils at those winter meetings.

The Board will discuss and evaluate proposed changes to this rule during a public meeting scheduled to be held in Anchorage in May 2005. You may provide additional oral testimony on specific proposals before the Board at that time. At that public meeting, the Board will then deliberate and take final action on proposals received that request changes to this proposed rule.

Please Note: The Board will not consider proposals for changes relating to fish or shellfish regulations at this time. The Board will be calling for proposed changes to those regulations in January 2005.

The Board's review of your comments and wildlife proposals will be facilitated by you providing the following information: (a) Your name, address, and telephone number; (b) The section and/or paragraph of the proposed rule for which you are suggesting changes; (c) A statement explaining why the change is necessary; (d) The proposed wording change; (e) Any additional information you believe will help the Board in evaluating your proposal. Proposals that fail to include the above information, or proposals that are beyond the scope of authorities in § __.24, Subpart C and §§ __.25 or __.26, Subpart D, may be rejected. The Board may defer review and action on some proposals if workload exceeds work capacity of staff, Regional Councils, or Board. These deferrals will be based on recommendations of the affected Regional Council, staff members, and on the basis of least harm to the subsistence user and the resource involved. Proposals should be specific to customary and traditional use determinations or to subsistence hunting and trapping seasons, harvest limits, and/or methods and means.

Background Back to Top

Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) (16 U.S.C. 3111-3126) requires that the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretaries) implement a joint program to grant a preference for subsistence uses of fish and wildlife resources on public lands, unless the State of Alaska enacts and implements laws of general applicability that are consistent with ANILCA and that provide for the subsistence definition, preference, and participation specified in Sections 803, 804, and 805 of ANILCA. The State implemented a program that the Department of the Interior previously found to be consistent with ANILCA.

However, in December 1989, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in McDowell v. State of Alaska that the rural preference in the State subsistence statute violated the Alaska Constitution. The Court's ruling in McDowell required the State to delete the rural preference from the subsistence statute and, therefore, negated State compliance with ANILCA. The Court stayed the effect of the decision until July 1, 1990.

As a result of the McDowell decision, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture (Departments) assumed, on July 1, 1990, responsibility for implementation of Title VIII of ANILCA on public lands. On June 29, 1990, the Temporary Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska were published in the Federal Register (55 FR 27114-27170). Consistent with Subparts A, B, and C of these regulations, as revised February 18, 2003 (68 FR 7703), the Departments established a Federal Subsistence Board to administer the Federal Subsistence Management Program. The Board's composition consists of a Chair appointed by the Secretary of the Interior with concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture; the Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the Alaska Regional Director, U.S. National Park Service; the Alaska State Director, U.S. Bureau of Land Management; the Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs; and the Alaska Regional Forester, USDA Forest Service. Through the Board, these agencies participate in the development of regulations for Subparts A and B and the annual Subpart C and D regulations.

All Board members have reviewed this rule and agree with its substance. Because this rule relates to public lands managed by an agency or agencies in both the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior, identical text would be incorporated into 36 CFR part 242 and 50 CFR part 100.

Applicability of Subparts A, B, and C Back to Top

Subparts A, B, and C (unless otherwise amended) of the Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, 50 CFR 100.1 to 100.23 and 36 CFR 242.1 to 242.23, remain effective and apply to this rule. Therefore, all definitions located at 50 CFR 100.4 and 36 CFR 242.4 would apply to regulations found in this subpart.

Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils Back to Top

Pursuant to the Record of Decision, Subsistence Management Regulations for Federal Public Lands in Alaska, April 6, 1992, and the Subsistence Management Regulations for Federal Public Lands in Alaska, 36 CFR 242.11 (2004) and 50 CFR 100.11 (2004), and for the purposes identified therein, we divide Alaska into 10 subsistence resource regions, each of which is represented by a Regional Council. The Regional Councils provide a forum for rural residents with personal knowledge of local conditions and resource requirements to have a meaningful role in the subsistence management of fish and wildlife on Alaska public lands. The Regional Council members represent varied geographical, cultural, and user diversity within each region.

The Regional Councils have a substantial role in reviewing the proposed rule and making recommendations for the final rule. Moreover, the Council Chairs, or their designated representatives, will present their Council's recommendations at the Board meeting in May 2005.

Proposed Changes from 2004-2005 Seasons and Bag Limit Regulations Back to Top

Subpart D regulations are subject to an annual cycle and require development of an entire new rule each year. Customary and traditional use determinations (§__.24 of Subpart C) are also subject to an annual review process providing for modification each year. The text of the 2004-2005 Subparts C and D final rule published July 1, 2004 (69 FR 40174), with the amendment correcting the definition of fur, serves as the foundation for the 2005-2006 Subparts C and D proposed rule. The regulations contained in this proposed rule would take effect on July 1, 2005, unless elements are changed by subsequent Board action following the public review process outlined herein.

Conformance With Statutory and Regulatory Authorities Back to Top

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance: A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that described four alternatives for developing a Federal Subsistence Management Program was distributed for public comment on October 7, 1991. That document described the major issues associated with Federal subsistence management as identified through public meetings, written comments, and staff analysis and examined the environmental consequences of the four alternatives. Proposed regulations (Subparts A, B, and C) that would implement the preferred alternative were included in the DEIS as an appendix. The DEIS and the proposed administrative regulations presented a framework for an annual regulatory cycle regarding subsistence hunting and fishing regulations (Subpart D). The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was published on February 28, 1992.

Based on the public comment received, the analysis contained in the FEIS, and the recommendations of the Federal Subsistence Board and the Department of the Interior's Subsistence Policy Group, it was the decision of the Secretary of the Interior, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Forest Service, to implement Alternative IV as identified in the DEIS and FEIS (Record of Decision on Subsistence Management for Federal Public Lands in Alaska (ROD), signed April 6, 1992). The DEIS and the selected alternative in the FEIS defined the administrative framework of an annual regulatory cycle for subsistence hunting and fishing regulations. The final rule for Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, Subparts A, B, and C (57 FR 22940; May 29, 1992) implemented the Federal Subsistence Management Program and included a framework for an annual cycle for subsistence hunting and fishing regulations.

An environmental assessment was prepared in 1997 on the expansion of Federal jurisdiction over fisheries and is available at the office listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. The Secretary of the Interior, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture, determined that the expansion of Federal jurisdiction does not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the human environment and has therefore signed a Finding of No Significant Impact.

Compliance with Section 810 of ANILCA: A Section 810 analysis was completed as part of the FEIS process on the Federal Subsistence Management Program. The intent of all Federal subsistence regulations is to accord subsistence uses of fish and wildlife on public lands a priority over the taking of fish and wildlife on such lands for other purposes, unless restriction is necessary to conserve healthy fish and wildlife populations. The final Section 810 analysis determination appeared in the April 6, 1992, ROD and concluded that the Federal Subsistence Management Program, under Alternative IV with an annual process for setting hunting and fishing regulations, may have some local impacts on subsistence uses, but will not likely restrict subsistence uses significantly.

During the environmental assessment process for extending fisheries jurisdiction, an evaluation of the effects of this rule was also conducted in accordance with Section 810. This evaluation supports the Secretaries' determination that the rule will not reach the “may significantly restrict” threshold for notice and hearings under ANILCA Section 810(a) for any subsistence resources or uses.

Paperwork Reduction Act: This proposed rule does not contain any information collections for which OMB approval is required under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Federal Agencies may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

Economic Effects: This rule is not a significant rule subject to OMB review under Executive Order 12866. This rulemaking will impose no significant costs on small entities; this rule does not restrict any existing sport or commercial fishery on the public lands, and subsistence fisheries will continue at essentially the same levels as they presently occur. The exact number of businesses and the amount of trade that will result from this Federal land-related activity is unknown. The aggregate effect is an insignificant positive economic effect on a number of small entities, such as ammunition, snowmachine, and gasoline dealers. The number of small entities affected is unknown; however, the fact that the positive effects will be seasonal in nature and will, in most cases, merely continue preexisting uses of public lands indicates that they will not be significant.

In general, the resources to be harvested under this rule are already being harvested and consumed by the local harvester and do not result in an additional dollar benefit to the economy. However, we estimate that 2 million pounds of meat are harvested by subsistence users annually and, if given an estimated dollar value of $3.00 per pound, would equate to about $6 million in food value Statewide.

Regulatory Flexibility Act: The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires preparation of flexibility analyses for rules that will have a significant effect on a substantial number of small entities, which include small businesses, organizations or governmental jurisdictions. The Departments certify based on the above figures that this rulemaking will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), this rule is not a major rule. It does not have an effect on the economy of $100 million or more, will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, and does not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

Executive Order 12630: Title VIII of ANILCA requires the Secretaries to administer a subsistence priority on public lands. The scope of this program is limited by definition to certain public lands. Likewise, these regulations have no potential takings of private property implications as defined by Executive Order 12630.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: The Secretaries have determined and certify pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that this rulemaking will not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local or State governments or private entities. The implementation of this rule is by Federal agencies and there is no cost imposed on any State or local entities or tribal governments.

Executive Order 12988: The Secretaries have determined that these regulations meet the applicable standards provided in Sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, regarding civil justice reform.

Executive Order 13132: In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment. Title VIII of ANILCA precludes the State from exercising subsistence management authority over fish and wildlife resources on Federal lands unless it meets certain requirements.

Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments: In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, “Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments” (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and 512 DM 2, we have evaluated possible effects on Federally recognized Indian tribes and have determined that there are no substantial direct effects. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is a participating agency in this rulemaking.

Energy Effects: On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 on regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, or use. This Executive Order requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. As this rule is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 13211, affecting energy supply, distribution, or use, this action is not a significant action and no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

Drafting Information: Theodore Matuskowitz drafted these regulations under the guidance of Thomas H. Boyd, of the Office of Subsistence Management, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska. Taylor Brelsford, Alaska State Office, Bureau of Land Management; Sandy Rabinowitch, Alaska Regional Office, National Park Service; Warren Eastland, Alaska Regional Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs; Greg Bos, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Steve Kessler, Alaska Regional Office, USDA-Forest Service provided additional guidance.

List of Subjects Back to Top

36 CFR Part 242

50 CFR Part 100

For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Federal Subsistence Board proposes to amend 36 CFR 242 and 50 CFR 100 for the 2005-06 regulatory year. The text of the amendments would be the same as the final rule for the 2004-05 regulatory year published in the Federal Register of 69 FR 40174, July 1, 2004.

Dated: August 5, 2004.

Thomas H. Boyd,

Acting Chair, Federal Subsistence Board.

Dated: August 5, 2004.

Calvin H. Casipit,

Acting Subsistence Program Leader, USDA-Forest Service.

[FR Doc. 04-19839 Filed 8-30-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-11-4310-55-P

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