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Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

The Supreme Court affirmed Alaskas authority over the lakes and rivers that crisscross the states national parks Tuesday in a case on its second trip in front of the courts bench.

SCOTUS issued a unanimous ruling in the case of Sturgeon v. Frost in favor of John Sturgeon, an Alaskan hunter who was stopped by federal park rangers for traveling by hovercraft over the Nation River in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.

Federal regulations prevent most vehicle travel through federally protected wilderness and land, and the rangers forbid Sturgeon from traveling through the park on his hovercraft again after catching him in 2007 on his way to hunt a moose. Sturgeon had been using the river to travel to his favorite hunting spot for four decades before the incident. (RELATED: SCOTUS Hears Arguments In Alaska Moose Hunters Hovercraft Case A Second Time)

A bull moose looks up while grazing in a field near Anchorage, Alaska on August 5, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

After retrieving the hovercraft, he was not allowed to drive out of the park. Sturgeon sued the National Park Service (NPS) arguing that Alaskas “navigable waters” are exempt from federal control. The court agreed with Sturgeon, based on state-specific exemptions to federal control found in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), according to the courts opinion delivered by Justice Elena Kagan.

The court ruled that the Nation River did not fall under federal protection, because “Alaska is different” when it comes to many aspects of federal land management regulations. Alaskas particular land regulatory framework began beinRead More – Source

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