Idaho’s Caribou Teach a Harsh Lesson

By as published on The Denver Post

“Thanks to the unfathomable blood-lust of the BLM our native Wild Horses and Burros could be the next to disappear forever.” ~ R.T.

To steal a line from the poet T.S. Eliot: This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper. Worse yet, extinction comes without even a whimper, only a click and a yawn.

The end of the line seems imminent for the last caribou of the Lower 48. Woodland caribou once roamed the forested northern tier from Maine to Michigan to Washington state, as they had for centuries. One herd has struggled for decades along the border of Washington, Idaho and British Columbia, in the Selkirk Mountain Range. Although I have seen the distinctive footprints of these caribou, I never caught up with any of them on the hoof.

Now, my chances may soon be over. Biologists recently completed their winter survey of these animals and found only three individuals in the Selkirks. This is down from nearly 50 a decade ago. All three caribou are female. You don’t need a degree in biology to know how this story ends.

Even if those animals happen to be pregnant, the outlook is grim, said biologist Bart George, who works for the Kalispel Tribe of Indians.

“We are all in mourning,” George told me.

The southern population of mountain caribou in British Columbia, Alberta, Washington and Idaho is in a tailspin. The Selkirks are one of perhaps 15 mountain ranges that face similar problems, though some are not quite as dire.

I’ve been writing about these caribou for 30 years and reading about them my entire life. In my business — conservation and journalism — I write about extinction frequently. But it’s usually an abstract concept, something that could happen in the future, or has already happened in the past. This is happening now, on our watch.

Mountain caribou are uniquely adapted to life in snowy mountains. They thrive so well in harsh winter climates that they migrate up the mountains in the winter, surviving on certain types of lichen that hang from low tree branches. It’s a precarious way to make a living, though, and it doesn’t take much to impact their survival.

Caribou get killed by cars and poachers and cougars and wolves. But these are tiny nicks in the population compared to the slashing wounds of the large-scale clear-cut logging that has swept over British Columbia, Idaho and Washington since the 1960s. I don’t intend to point fingers; I print words on pulp, live in a wooden house and have friends and neighbors who make a living cutting and milling trees. But clear-cuts are killing the caribou. It’s just a fact.

I believe that people have a right to log trees, but also a responsibility not to push our fellow beings into oblivion. That was the idea behind the Endangered Species Act. Extinction can be a natural process, but not when it’s driven by human greed and consumption. The Endangered Species Act is sometimes described as the “emergency room” of conservation. Unfortunately, critical care appears to be coming too little and too late for our caribou.

I could tell you all about how humanity’s fate is tied to our natural world, how healthy forests are crucial for clean water and “ecosystem services.” But forget all that. I’ll just say this: Caribou have a right to be here, and our nation is poorer without them. Extinction doesn’t always come about with a meteor strike from outer space. It’s usually a slower process — a trickle of bad news that comes gradually to a stop.

A few decades ago, there were about 50 caribou in the Selkirks; now, there are maybe three. Today, there are less than 100 bighorn sheep left in the Teton Range near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There are about 75 resident orca whales in Puget Sound off Seattle. When population numbers get this low, conservation gets expensive, and the odds of survival grow increasingly long.

The Endangered Species Act is important, but the way out of this cycle is to not end up relying on it so heavily in the first place — to keep the land and water and wildlife healthy enough to not need the emergency room. For that, we need to acknowledge that wildlife habitat has a value, whether we are weighing it against cheap oil and a policy of “energy dominance,” or the growth of another foothills subdivision, or just the price of a two-by-four at the lumberyard.

Only a tiny handful of U.S. news outlets have even mentioned the crisis of the Selkirk caribou. I guess extinction in our time cannot compete against the latest tweetstorm from Hollywood or Washington, D.C. There is only a whimper, or maybe a few tears. I want to believe that America can do better than that. For the sake of our grandchildren, I hope I am right.

Ben Long is a contributor to Writers on the Range, the opinion service of High Country News. He is senior program director for Resource Media in Kalispell, Montana.

https://www.denverpost.com/2018/05/12/idahos-caribou-teach-a-harsh-lesson/

Land of the Free

by Chris Madson as published on HATCH

America’s public domain was saved from the excesses of business by visionaries

Photograph from the mid-1870s of a pile of American bison skulls waiting to be ground for fertilizer, circa 1870 (photo: Unknown).

America’s public domain was saved from the excesses of business by visionaries. It was set aside for all the people. That’s how it should remain.

It was the culmination of nearly three centuries of the pursuit of profit. What began in tiny enclaves along the east coast marched steadily out into the unexplored continent, consuming land and people as it went, until it reached the prairies and high county of the West. Our myth has it that the process was driven by stalwart men and women yearning to breathe free, but they were only pawns in the great game. From the very beginning, the process was driven by corporate investment, often with immense government backing, and by the time it reached the Rockies, it had developed into a well-oiled machine.

It began with fur. The myth whispers tales of dauntless men in buckskins braving the wilderness, but the reality was corporate. Giant firms like the Hudson’s Bay Company and the American Fur Company controlled the business, providing the trade goods and transporting the take to markets in Britain and Europe. Before they were finished, the beaver had practically disappeared, and the bison teetered on the edge of extinction.

Then came the miner, not the bearded sourdough of legend, but corporate giants like Anaconda, Homestake, and Phelps Dodge, outfits that had the capital to chase the mineral lodes and the influence to dodge the liability for the damage they did in the process. They poisoned streams, stole millions of board feet of timber from the public domain, and provided an insatiable demand for the wild meat provided by local market gunners.

After that, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific and Northern Pacific arrived on the scene, the companies that tied the nation together with steel, and at the same time, stripped the mountains of timber, corrupted a generation of U.S. Congressmen and state officials, and maneuvered the government into funding schemes so ruinous that they triggered the Panic of 1873 and nearly ten years of the worst depression the nation had ever seen.

The rangelands were not spared. The myth of the cowboy hides the reality of the cattle baron. Backed by millions of dollars from investors as far away as Great Britain and Scotland, these entrepreneurs defrauded the federal government and the American people of millions of acres of land through criminal abuses of the Homestead Act. They illegally claimed millions more acres of the public domain, and when the law wasn’t enough to exclude small-time operators, they occasionally hired gunmen to shoot them down. By the time they had finished, the range had been severely overgrazed and the cheatgrass disaster had gained a foothold in the Great Basin.

C.A. Smith, Frederick Weyerhauser, and their competitors used similar tactics to lay claim to huge tracts of pristine timber in the Northwest, finishing the assault on western forests that the railroads and mining companies had begun.

This was the western landscape at the close of the nineteenth century: a land controlled and operated by millionaires and conglomerates, many of whom had stretched the law or simply flouted it to control the economy and politics of the public domain. A land stripped of its pristine promise: the range overgrazed; the forests over-cut; mountainsides raw and bleeding from the pitiless extraction of precious metals; streams polluted; the great herds of game, the beaver, the sage grouse all but extinct.

The entire nation was appalled. The people of the United States were still firmly committed to the ideals of personal freedom and entrepreneurship, but they had seen enough of the abuse of public lands in the West. Faced with the ruin wrought by an unfettered market and a moneyed elite, a generation of Americans began looking for a different way to realize the democratic ideal in the arid West.

The movement proceeded from the notion that our common interest is sometimes best served when we own certain things together. The idea of places and resources held in the public trust gained traction with wildlife in the 1840s and was extended over the next century to the great open spaces of the West’s public domain. It gained momentum with the creation of the world’s first national park in 1872 and continued with the establishment of the first national forest on the eastern edge of Yellowstone National Park in 1891. By the time Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901, the nation was already well on the road to a different approach.

Gifford Pinchot, one of Roosevelt’s closest friends and advisors, is widely credited with providing Roosevelt with the concept of wise use of the land, particularly federal land, and a term for that sort of sustainable use: conservation. Roosevelt was not only an enthusiastic advocate for wildlife and wild land, he was also a consummate politician. He recognized the value of conservation as a middle ground between the destructive land use policies of the nineteenth century and the preservationist reaction to those abuses by men like John Muir.

A handful of local interests, often backed by corporate money and influence, were loud in their opposition to the concepts of national forests and grazing lands that men like Roosevelt championed, but the nation as a whole supported the idea of federal reserves and the sustainable use of natural resources on those reserves.

Of course, the devil is always in the details. The definition of “wise use” of public lands has been argued ever since it became a tenet of federal management with the passage of the Forest Service Organic Act in 1897. In 1960, the concept officially morphed into “multiple use,” a phrase that may be even less useful in defining the details of federal land management than its predecessor…(CONTINUED)

https://www.hatchmag.com/articles/land-free/7714580

Zinke Flips Westerners the Bird

by Jesse Prentice-Dunn as published on WestWise

Interior Secretary set to ignore overwhelming public feedback in scrapping landmark sage-grouse conservation plans

Dinky Zinke, “Ya buddy, I could pop-off one of those puffed up puppies right now.!”

In less than one year on the job, Interior Secretary Zinke has taken a wrecking ball to America’s public lands legacy. From the unprecedented step of dramatically shrinking national monuments to proposing massive entrance fee hikes for national parks, he has made his doctrine clear — public lands are for extractive industries, not the American people.

Zinke has justified his actions by saying he’s merely listening to the public, but a closer look shows the public overwhelmingly supports conserving our public lands for future generations and opposes selling out our lands to oil, gas, and coal companies. For example, more than 2.8 million Americans, along with local businesses and the burgeoning outdoor industry, asked Zinke to leave our national monuments intact. He expressly rejected that input in recommending that President Trump dramatically shrink six national monuments.

Now, after Zinke announced his intent to eviscerate collaborative land management plans that balance sage-grouse conservation with energy development, Westerners are asking him to honor the deal that was struck and leave the plans alone. The feedback has been overwhelming:

  • The Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service collectively received nearly 400,000 comments urging them to leave sage-grouse conservation plans intact.
  • At 15 public meetings scattered across the region, sportsmen and women, ranchers, business owners, and conservationists urged the agencies to honor the deal they brokered in 2015.
  • Western governors of both parties, including Matt Mead (R-WY), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Brian Sandoval (R-NV), and Steve Bullock (D-MT), made it clear that major changes to the plans are not needed.
  • A poll just released by Colorado College found that 64 percent of Westerners support keeping the existing plans in place.
  • Editorial boards and opinion writers around the West have asked Zinke to leave the sage-grouse plans alone.

Will Secretary Zinke listen?….(CONTINUED)

View story at Medium.com

House Committee Chairman Attacks Reporter for Doing His Job

By Greg Zimmerman as published on Medium’s Westwise

Rep. Rob Bishop goes after Washington Post’s accurate account of Bishop’s legislative agenda

Utah Congressman Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has made no secrets about his disdain for America’s foundational conservation laws.

On the Endangered Species Act: “I would be happy to invalidate [it].”

On the Antiquities Act: “It is the most evil act ever invented.”

On the Land and Water Conservation Fund: it is a “slush fund” and we should instead “plow some money back into [the oil and gas industry] to make sure that it’s there.”

(See the bottom of this post for for a summary of each law and its importance to American conservation.)

Even though these positions are extremely unpopular with voters across the West and the American public, Congressman Bishop has built his political career proudly working to undermine national public lands and weakening or invalidating a slew of environmental laws.

That’s why it was so bizarre when the House Natural Resources Committee personally attacked a Washington Post reporter for simply writing a story about Rep. Bishop’s agenda. Darryl Fears, a reporter with more than three decades in the news business, published a piece about the congressman’s work on the Endangered Species Act. The article is summarized by the story’s headline:

Fears is reporting on the five pieces of legislation (HR 717, HR 3131, HR 1274, HR 2603, HR 424) that Rep. Bishop has moved through his committee to accomplish the stated goal of defanging and, ultimately, “invalidating” the Endangered Species Act.

Rather than owning his agenda, Rep. Bishop and his staff at the House Natural Resources Committee decided to attack Fears and his reporting. In its weekly email blast — The Source — the committee doesn’t dispute the accuracy of Fears’ story, but nonetheless accuses him of “fervently [swallowing] the tired shticks of the radical Left.”…(CONTINUED)

View story at Medium.com

Zinke’s Plan to Slaughter Wild Horses and Burros Now Expanded to Sage Grouse and Beyond

Unedited Story from Western Values Project

Secretary Zinke’s proposed changes would be devastating, it would harm the $1 billion outdoor recreation economy on sage-grouse habitat and endanger not just the sage-grouse, but the other iconic species like mule deer, elk, and pronghorn that depend on a health sagebrush ecosystem.

Two years ago today, history was made when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the greater sage-grouse did not warrant a listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to the finalization of strong, science-based Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land management plans.

Those plans were the product of collaboration amongst stakeholders including ranchers, governors, conservationists, sportsmen and sportswomen, local elected officials, and industry officials. They were a promise to work together in keeping with the tradition of working the land, by maintaining responsible and sustainable methods to keep the sage-grouse from needing a listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Two years later, the future of the plans is now unknown. In an attempt to dismantle the plans, Secretary Ryan Zinke and the Department of the Interior (DOI) have decided that the West does not know what’s best and therefore have intervened to inject their own agenda is these already established plans. Their agenda pushes the interests of the oil and gas industry, and a few select members of Congress who are determined to have energy development dominate our public lands.

Secretary Zinke’s proposed changes would be devastating, it would harm the $1 billion outdoor recreation economy on sage-grouse habitat and endanger not just the sage-grouse, but the other iconic species like mule deer, elk, and pronghorn that depend on a health sagebrush ecosystem.

Instead of ignoring years of hard work and collaboration, Secretary Zinke should recognize the stakeholders who worked for years on these plans, not ignore them in favor of oil and gas lobbyists. Rehashing existing plans and starting from zero is another half ditch attempt by Washington to overstep its bounds. Secretary Zinke and DOI are even ignoring the advice of western wildlife managers and scientist, who have made clear that the plans do not need major changes.

But Secretary Zinke is only focused on serving himself and corporate special interests.

As Westerners celebrate this two-year anniversary, their message to Secretary Zinke is loud and clear: stop attempting to destroy years of hard work, instead support the plans.

http://westernvaluesproject.org/two-years-in-zinke-scraps-sage-grouse-plans-for-special-interests/

BLM is “cowed” by Livestock Industry

Privately owned welfare cattle being herded onto public land and wild horse habitat DURING a BLM roundup at Antelope Complex, NV. ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Below is a letter to the Editor of the Elko Daily Free Press by George Wuerthner

SOURCE:  Elko Daily Free Press

Editor:

The recent August 11 editorial approving of Secretary of Interior Zinke’s review of the sage grouse recovery plans may sound good to the livestock industry but it does not represent the best science.

As a former BLM botanist and an ecologist, I can attest to the fact that the BLM is “cowed” by the livestock industry. And the assertion that “well managed” grazing “may” be beneficial to sage grouse, is like saying chemo treatments might be good for one’s health. Only in rare instances, can livestock be considered “beneficial” to sage grouse.

The fact remains that livestock grazing is the SINGLE biggest negative impact on sage grouse. Livestock production impacts sage grouse at multiple stages of its life cycle. For instance, the BLM and the editorial in the Elko Daily appear to suggest that “invasive plants (meaning cheatgrass) and wildfire are the greatest threat to sage grouse.”

This is true as far as it goes. It’s like suggesting that diabetes is a threat to American health without naming sugar and obesity as the ultimate factors. Livestock, by disturbing biocrusts, promotes the establishment of cheatgrass. In addition, by preferentially consuming the native grasses, livestock reduces their competitiveness, giving the advantage to cheatgrass.

Of course, the widespread invasion of the highly flammable cheatgrass, promoted by livestock grazing, is a major factor promoting so many large range fires.

Livestock also consumes the forbs (read flowers) that sage grouse chicks need during the first few months of their lives. Sage grouse chicks also require wet meadows and riparian areas for foraging on forbs and insects, and nothing has done more damage to western arid riparian areas and wet meadows than trampling by livestock.

Let’s not forget that fences are a major source of mortality for the slow flying sage grouse, and what factor is responsible for most of the fences on western rangelands? Livestock!

Livestock grazing, by reducing the height of residential vegetation, also reduces the hiding cover for chicks and adult grouse, making them more vulnerable to predators. And fence posts are a preferred lookout for raptors which can p

Indeed, due to predation risk, some studies suggest sage grouse will avoid fence lines for up to a mile—removing a significant amount of the habitat that might otherwise be available to them.

Stock troughs are also a breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus, which in some parts of the sage grouse range is a major source of mortality.

These are only a few of the ways that livestock production harms sage grouse. The only reason the BLM says livestock may be beneficial is that it is weak-kneed and has been systematically had its scientific staff ignored, demoralized and eliminated.

George Wuerthner

Range Riders-a false solution for predator-livestock conflicts

By as published on Wildlife News

“…these conservation groups conveniently ignore and fail to inform their membership and media of the multiple ways that livestock production harms wildlife, and ecosystems, no doubt while receiving big donations for their silence. They are, thus, directly culpable for helping to continue the livestock hegemony and destruction of our public lands.”

Private Cattle being herded onto public land at Antelope AS wild horses are being stampeded away ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Tom Sawyer would be proud of the “progressive” livestock producers who “love” predators.  These ranchers are continuously held up as a “win-win demonstrations” by collaborating so-called conservation groups who promote these operations as examples of how wildlife and ranching can co-exist.

You know the names, in part, because there are so few of them around the West that the same operations are continuously written up in the media and promoted by conservation groups-Malpai Borderlands group in Arizona and New Mexico, Lava Lake Land and Livestock Company in Idaho, JBarL in Montana’s Centennial Valley, and the Tom Miner Association adjacent to Yellowstone National Park.

The problem is that all these feel-good examples have two problems.

One they are the exceptions, not the rule. In all cases, they are livestock operations owned by wealthy individuals or those who have some connection to wealth. As a result, they can implement management practices that cannot be scaled up across the landscape. The Malpai had the support of the late Drum Hadley, Anheuser-Busch beer heir. Lava Lakes is owned by Brian and Kathleen Bean, who live in San Francisco where Brian is an investment banker. The B Bar Ranch in Tom Miner Basin is owned by Mary Ann Mott of Mott Applesauce fame. And the JBarL is owned by Peggy Dulany, heir to the Rockefeller fortune.

The sad thing about all these ranching operations is that the owners are wealthy enough that they don’t need to run livestock at all—likely it is a tax write off.  Indeed, if they were truly interested in helping wildlife instead of promoting the cowboy myth, they would volunteer to retire their public lands grazing allotments and contribute their vast fortunes towards retiring other grazing allotments.

Some of their holdings are substantial—the Bean’s Lava Lakes ranching operation includes 24,000 acres of private lands and controls over 900,000 acres of public lands allotments. Imagine if they retired their grazing allotments instead of running vast herds of sheep on them.

Instead, these “progressive” ranching operations are fawned upon by conservation organizations and receive numerous accolades and promotions of their livestock products (higher priced “grass fed beef and/or lamb). This includes groups like NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife (DOW), Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Montana Audubon, and the Nature Conservancy, among others.

All the while these conservation groups conveniently ignore and fail to inform their membership and media of the multiple ways that livestock production harms wildlife, and ecosystems, no doubt while receiving big donations for their silence. They are, thus, directly culpable for helping to continue the livestock hegemony and destruction of our public lands.

It would analogous to the American Cancer Society promoting filtered cigarettes arguing that they were slightly healthier than unfiltered smokes, and failing to acknowledge that cigarette smoking was a major cause of cancer.

To give an example of this collusion between ranchers and so-called conservation groups, I recently received an email about a “Range Rider” program at the Anderson Ranch in Tom Miner Basin (link here https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=e8f5b5d8e3&view=att&th=15b71e2eda289a5f&attid=0.1&disp=safe&realattid=f_j1jblcbx0&zw).

For a mere $600 you can ride a horse around in the mountains, and for dinner eat grass fed beef of animals you helped to keep out of the mouth of a wolf or grizzly.

You will learn how to harass predators like grizzlies and wolves so the ranchers can continue to run livestock on our public lands with a minimum of losses from predators.

In addition, there is the warm fuzzy feeling you’ll get knowing that, according to the ranch website, range riders help the ranch document predator losses so they can obtain more money from the state predator reimbursement program (again why do wealthy people need our tax dollars to maintain their ranching operations).

The people who fall for this gimmick no doubt believe they are saving predators. That is the message that supporting national organizations like NRDC and Defenders of Wildlife try to put forth.  Want to save wolves—come help harass public wildlife so that ranchers won’t kill them.

Unfortunately, the Anderson Ranch and supporting so called wildlife groups are perpetuating wildlife conflicts, not ultimately eliminating them.

Keep in mind that cattle and/or sheep grazing on public lands are consuming forage that would feed elk and other native wildlife which is the food base for native predators. Funny how TNC, GYC, DOW and NRDC and other groups never mention this as a cost of public lands livestock operations.

The mere presence of livestock socially displaces native wildlife like elk which avoid areas actively being grazed by domestic animals. And therefore, are pushed into less suitable habitat. Again, this harms the natural prey of predators like wolves and grizzlies. Again, no mention of this by the collaborating groups.

Nor do these so-called wildlife groups point out that you as a range rider are there to harass predators so someone’s private livestock (like the Anderson Ranch) can profit from public lands, while native predators like wolves and grizzlies are displaced from their natural habitat.

These groups also don’t mention the collateral damage from livestock. The spread of weeds. The soil compaction. The pollution of waterways from manure. The destruction of biocrusts. The spread of disease from domestic animals to wildlife. The trampling of riparian areas. The fences that block wildlife migration. The hay fields that require irrigation which drains our rivers and destroys aquatic ecosystems.

And I have yet to see any of these groups drawing the connection between livestock methane production and global warming.

Indeed, I would venture to bet that these so-called “wildlife friendly” ranch operations have these impacts—which overall are far worse for the ecological health of our public lands than the loss of an occasional wolf or bear—regrettable as that may be…(CONTINUED)

http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2017/04/17/range-riders-a-false-solution-for-predator-livestock-conflicts/

Wyoming Opinion Differs on Leaked BLM Talking Points and Expanding Energy Development

by as published on The Casper Star Tribune

“Let me make one thing clear: The Interior Department is in the energy business,”

English: Bureau of Land Management logo

English: Bureau of Land Management logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A leaked draft of a new priority list from the Bureau of Land Management recently put energy development front and center among the agency’s initiatives.

In Wyoming, where the BLM manages 17.5 million acres of public land, any changes in how the agency permits and leases land for drilling oil and gas, or digging coal, sparks debate between those seeking to do business and those who want to reserve more land for public use and conservation.

The five-point draft from the BLM lists a number of priorities for the agency, like promoting energy independence for the U.S. and developing habitat improvement projects. The majority of the bullet points concern fossil fuel development. They include streamlining the drilling application process, opening new lands for drilling and addressing a “backlog” of industry requests. E&E News obtained a copy of the document and reported on its contents April 10.

 A spokeswoman for BLM said the list reflects the multi-use responsibility of the BLM but emphasized that it is not a final draft.

“While these documents are still in draft form, these talking points are being assembled by the team at the BLM to clearly lay out our continued commitment to ensure opportunities for commercial, recreation and conservation activities on BLM-managed lands,” said spokeswoman Megan Crandall in a statement. “Our multiple-use and sustained yield mission for managing public lands on behalf of all Americans supports an all-of-the-above energy plan, shared conservation through tribal, state and local partnerships, public access for recreation and other activities and keeping America’s working public landscapes healthy and productive.”

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story.

http://trib.com/business/energy/wyoming-opinion-differs-on-leaked-blm-talking-points-and-expanding/article_5105a15d-51f8-5e1b-8751-8624c707cc55.html

Tell Congress: Back Off Legislation Using Sage Grouse to Transfer Public Lands

Source: Western Watershed Project

“These bills would do the opposite of what their titles suggest by handing over management of your federal public lands to states…”

Greater sage-grouse in flight © Ken Cole/WWP

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) have introduced legislation that is an extreme and irresponsible attack on your public lands and the wildlife they support. This bill has the Orwellian title of the “Greater Sage Grouse Protection and Recovery Act,” (S.273, H.R.527).

These bills would do the opposite of what their titles suggest by handing over management of your federal public lands to states that want more industrial destruction of sage grouse habitats, and by blocking conservation efforts under the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws that protect our environment. A more accurate title would by the “Greater Sage Grouse Extinction Act.”

Tell your elected representatives that you support sage grouse and oppose the gutting of federal environmental protections!

This bill would undermine the most essential environmental protections on federal lands. State sage grouse plans are far weaker on habitat protection than the recent federal sage grouse plans (which are not biologically adequate but, for now, that another matter). Where state and federal plans differ, the Bishop-Risch extinction act would give state governors in pro-industry states like Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho control over all decisions on federal public lands that involve sage grouse – that’s virtually every public land decision!

At the same time, this bill would exempt such state decisions on public lands from basic environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act. That means no examination of environmental impacts, no weighing of environmentally responsible alternatives, and no public input on the decisions that determine the fate of your public lands. And to cap it all off, this bill would block lawsuits on these decisions, meaning that state governors could violate federal environmental laws as much as they like without worrying that their actions will be overturned by the courts!

This bill also attacks the Endangered Species Act by preventing the greater sage-grouse from being protected under the ESA before 2027, regardless of how low their populations go, or how much scientific evidence shows that urgent protections are needed to avert extinction.
 
Make a phone call to your Representative and Senators or write and urge them to vote against extinction and stand up for our federal environmental safeguards!

Phone calls are even better than emails. Please call or write today!

Laird Lucas (Exec. Dir.) and Talasi Brooks (Staff Attorney) of Advocates for the West, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 9/28/16)

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, Sept. 28, 2016

6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

laird-lucas-headshot-180x180Laird Lucas, Exec. Dir., Advocates for the West

talasi-brooks-headshot-180x180

Talasi Brooks, Staff Attorney

Our guests tonight will be Laird Lucas (Executive Director) and Talasi Brooks (Staff Attorney) of Advocates for the West, a public interest, nonprofit environmental law firm with an 85% record of legal success protecting the wildlife and wild places of the American West.

Advocates for the West are fighting to protect wildlife, land, water and air. Their wildlife cases wield the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws to stop and prevent habitat destruction, from unchecked grazing to motorized vehicles to industrial degradation. Advocates for the West are protecting sage grouse. They fight damage to our public lands from logging, mining, and countless other degradations. Their water-focused cases employ the Clean Water Act, the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, other environmental laws, and basic common sense to stop pollution, protect streams and watersheds, and improve water quality. Advocates for the West utilize the Clean Air Act and other environmental statutes to stop toxins, waste and pollutants that go airborne, so we can all take a breath of fresh air.

Some of the recent cases of Advocates for the West involve Wildlife Services wolf-killing in Idaho, protecting wild and scenic rivers, Point Reyes National Seashore in California, CuMo Mining Exploration, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Dept. of Energy and more.

This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585 Continue reading