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Alaska Legislative Council v. Babbitt

ELR Citation: 29 ELR 21334
Nos. No. 98-5405, 181 F.3d 1333/(D.C. Cir., 07/13/1999)

The court holds that an Alaska state council and individual state legislators lacked standing under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) to challenge the federal management of the subsistence taking of fish and wildlife on federal public lands in Alaska. The court first holds that neither the legislators nor the council alleged injuries that are personal or particularized to them, and, thus, they have not established a personal stake in the alleged dispute. The legislators, at most, alleged that ANILCA had the effect of rendering the state legislature unable to control hunting and fishing on federal lands within the state. This injury, however, is a loss of political power that the legislators do not hold in their personal or private capacities but as members of the state legislature. Similarly, the council's alleged injury of federal limitations on state fish and wildlife management is an injury to the state itself, and the council is not authorized to sue on behalf of the state.

The court next holds that the legislators and the council lacked standing to bring an equal protection challenge to ANILCA. The legislators claimed that ANILCA limits their hunting and fishing activities, yet the facts alleged do not indicate that the law even reaches or in any way affects their individual activities. The court also holds that the legislators did not demonstrate an actual injury sufficient to maintain their claim under the Administrative Procedure Act §702 that ANILCA adversely affected them by extending its regulation of hunting and fishing beyond federal lands.

Counsel for Appellants
Mark L. Pollot
Attorney General's Office
1031 W. 4th St., Ste. 200, Anchorage AK 99501
(907) 269-5100

Counsel for Appellees
Elizabeth A. Peterson
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000

Before Wald and Garland, JJ.