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Congress Just Made It Officially Legal To Kill Hibernating Bears

Hunters in Alaska can now track and kill hibernating bears thanks to a U.S. House and Senate resolution rolling back Obama-era regulations against the practice.

President Donald Trumpsigned the bill into lawon Monday, which rolled back Alaskas ban on killing the vulnerable bears, along with wolf cubs in dens. It also allows for hunters to target the animals from helicopters.

The Republican-sponsored legislation impacts 76.8 million acres of federally protected national preserves across Alaska.

Sens.Lisa Murkowski(R-Alaska) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) took to the Senate floor last month to denounce the previous rulethat the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued in August.

Murkowski called it bad for Alaska, bad for hunters, bad for our native peoples, bad for America, and a direct attack on states rights.

In Sullivans argument, the lawmaker said the change was for Alaskans who value hunting as a deep part of their culture.

The Humane Society of the United States condemned the rollback.

What the House did today should shock the conscience of every animal lover in America, said Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle in a statement. If the Senate and president concur, well see wolf families killed in their dens [and] bears chased down by planes.

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who introduced the measure, argued that states rights were being infringed upon by the rule.

We have to recognize this is not about the little polar bears, the little grizzly bears or wolves on television, this is about the states right to manage not allowing the federal government to do so, Young said in testimony in February. We want to be able to take and manage our fish and game for the sustainable yield so that our fish and game will be there forever.

Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said killing predators in such acruel, unsportsmanlike fashion is outrageous.

Senate Republicans have shown just how mean-spirited and petty they are with todays vote, he said in a statement following the passed measure in March.

Young said that if Alaskans werent happy with the bill, they should stop re-electing him.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/congress-officially-made-it-legal-to-kill-hibernating-bears_us_58e93960e4b05413bfe36c1b

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