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From a USFWS News Release dated 17 Oct 206:

The Federal Subsistence Board is accepting written comments and suggestions through Nov. 13, 2006 on alternative methods for assuring balanced membership on Federal subsistence regional advisory councils.

Currently, there are 10 Federal subsistence regional advisory councils around the state. The members of these councils are volunteers and also local users of fish and wildlife resources. They serve a pivotal role in the Federal subsistence program by using their local knowledge and expertise to evaluate regulatory proposals and make recommendations to the Federal Subsistence Board.

The Federal Advisory Committee Act requires that advisory committees have a balanced membership. Current Federal regulations, adopted in 2004, set a goal of 70 percent subsistence users and 30 percent sport and commercial users on the Federal subsistence regional advisory councils. The intent of this regulation was to ensure the appropriate representation and meaningful majority role for rural Alaska residents, while providing appropriate representation for the interests of consumptive users of fish and wildlife on public lands other than rural subsistence users. However, on Aug. 8, 2006 the U.S. District Court for Alaska enjoined the use of this approach, saying the Board failed to articulate its rationale in adopting the 70/30 membership goal.

The Board is seeking written comments and suggestions at this time to consider alternatives that would provide balanced membership on the regional advisory councils. Written comments and suggestions will be accepted through Nov. 13, 2006 and can be sent by e-mail to subsistence@fws.gov, by fax at (907) 786-3898, or by mail to:

Federal Subsistence Board Attn: Theo Matuskowitz
Office of Subsistence Management
3601 C Street, Suite 1030
Anchorage, AK 99503

For additional information, please contact Ann Wilkinson at (800) 478-1456 or (907) 786-3676 or by e-mail, ann_wilkinson@fws.gov.


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