Fair and Balanced? Look Who’s Coming To The Anti-Wolf Party!

 
Look at the line up of Montana Representative Rehberg’s “listening sessions” on wolves, being held in Dillon, Hamilton and Kalispell, Montana on October 5th and 6th. 
 
Rehberg drafted an anti-wolf bill that would strip gray wolves of their ESA protections. His bill mirrors another anti-wolf bill introduced by Montana Senators Baucus and Tester. Wolves are being used as political footballs by politicians posturing to their base, notably ranchers, hunters and outfitters. Rehberg is a rancher himself and has a dead, stuffed wolf in his Washington, DC office. I guess it’s easier to scapegoat wolves then talk about the bad economy or high unemployment.
 
Talk about a stacked deck. There are TWO environmentalists on the panel. One is Mike Leahy from DOW, and someone from the Sierra Club, not confirmed. The rest are ranchers, hunters, stockgrowers, outfitters, Wildlife Services, woolgrowers, state legislators, bowhunters, Montana Farmer’s Union, Sportsmen For Fish and Wildlife, Ravalli County Commissioner Rancher, Big Game Forever (Utah), Montana Dept. of Livestock, Montana FWP biologists, Montanans for Multiple Use and Toby Bridges.
 
He discussed killing wolves with the artificial sweetener Xylitol, toxic to canines, on his website Lobo Watch. This is who they pick to sit on a “listening session” panel on wolves. Is this a joke?
 
The panels are so shamelessly anti-wolf,  it’s embarrassing. Wolves don’t have a chance with this group. IMO the point of these “listening sessions” is for Rehberg to preach  to his base, mine for votes for the upcoming election, then go back to Washington, DC and say this was a representative panel of Montanans who want wolves “managed”. How completely transparent but totally predictable. 
 
October 5: Dillon
9:00 AM-11:00 AM
University of Montana Western, Lewis and Clark Room at Matthews Hall
 
Denny Rehberg, Montana’s Congressman, Rancher (Billings)

Jake Cummins, Jr., Executive Vice President, Montana Farm Bureau (Bozeman)

Meg Smith, Rancher, Member, Southwest Stockgrowers Association (Big Hole)

Rick Sandru, President, Ruby Valley Stockgrowers (Twin Bridges)

Russ Kipp, President, Montana Outfitters and Guides Association (Polaris)

Debbie Barrett, State Senator (Dillon)

Dave Schultz, Madison County Commissioner (Ennis)

Mike Leahy, Rocky Mountain Regional Director, Defenders of Wildlife (Bozeman)

John Steuber, Director, USDA Wildlife Services (Billings)

Harold Peterson, Owner, Peterson Brothers Cattle Company (Big Hole)

John Helle, President, Montana Woolgrowers Association, Sheep Rancher (Dillon)

Steve Jennings, President, Beaverhead Outdoor Association (Dillon)

Emcee: Jeff Welborn, State Representative (Dillon)

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October 5: Hamilton
3:00 PM-5:00 PM
Hamilton Performing Arts Center

Denny Rehberg, Montana’s Congressman, Rancher (Billings)

Montana Farmers Union (Great Falls) *Invited, but unconfirmed

Ron Stoker, State Representative (Hamilton)

Sierra Club (Missoula) *Invited, but unconfirmed

Jack Pfau, Cattle rancher (Stevensville)

J.R. Iman, Rancher, Ravalli County Commissioner (Bitterroot)

Scott Boulanger, Former Owner, Circle K Outfitters (Darby)

Bill Merrill, President, Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (Missoula)

Ryan Benson, National Director, Big Game Forever (Utah)

Tony Jones, President, Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association (Hamilton)

Craig Jourdonnais, Wildlife Biologist, Montana FW&P (Bitterroot) *Invited, but unconfirmed

George Edwards, Livestock Loss Mitigation Coordinator, MT Dept of Livestock (Helena)

Emcee: Rusty Wickman, Former Missoula Chief of Police, Member, Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (Missoula)

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October 6: Kalispell
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
Flathead Valley Community College, Arts and Technology Large Meeting Room

Denny Rehberg, Montana’s Congressman, Rancher (Billings)
 
Gary Wardell, Board Member, Five Valleys Chapter Safari Club International (Kalispell)

Wayne Slaght, Rancher, Chair, Endangered Species Committee, Montana Stockgrowers Association (Ovando)

Chuck Hunt, President, Flathead Wildlife Incorporated (Kalispell)

Mike Meuli, Cattle Rancher (Kalispell)

Gerald Bennett, State Representative (Libby)

Edwin (Ed) Jonas, Cattle Rancher (Rollins)

Clarice Ryan, Board Member, Montanans for Multiple Use (Flathead)

Kirk Murphy, Director of Operations, Division III, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (Polson)

Jason Tounsley, President, Montana Bow Hunters Association (Billings)

Toby Bridger, President, Lobo Watch (Missoula)

Joe Maurier, Director, Montana FW&P (Helena) *Invited, but unconfirmed

Emcee: Bruce Tutvedt, State Senator (Kalispell)

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Wolf Warriors if you can attend any of the meetings, please do!! I know it will be uncomfortable but wolves are voiceless and need our help.

I believe the focus of these “meetings” will be the legislation drafted by Rehberg to strip gray wolves of their ESA protections. Since the anti-wolf crowd lost in court they now want to dismantle one of the most important pieces of environmental legislation, the ESA. Wolves were only able to make a comeback because of the ESA. They still face incredible persecution and need its protection more than ever.

Please refer to the Center for Biological Diversity’s press release for talking points, if you are attending any of the meetings.

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Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 30, 2010 

Legislation Would Strip Federal Protection From Wolves Before Recovery is Complete

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity today condemned newly introduced federal legislation that would strip Endangered Species Act protections from wolves around the country before they have fully recovered.

“Recovery of endangered wolves is still far from complete,” said Michael Robinson of the Center. “Wolves occupy a mere 5 percent of their historic range in the continental United States and continue to be threatened by illegal killing and government predator control.”

Three bills have been introduced in Congress that would, variously, remove Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in Montana and Idaho , these states plus portions of surrounding states, or the entire country. The bills respond to a federal judge’s ruling in August that overturned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to remove Endangered Species Act protections from wolves in Montana , Idaho and portions of Washington , Oregon and Utah . Judge Donald W. Molloy ruled that the Fish and Wildlife Service cannot delist a species along political boundaries, in this case retaining listing in Wyoming , but rather must make such decisions based on science.

“The Endangered Species Act wisely requires decisions concerning the fate of endangered species like the wolf to be based solely on the best available scientific information,” said Robinson. “Allowing lawmakers to replace scientists in deciding which species get protected under the Endangered Species Act subverts the scientific process and sets a terrible precedent that will allow special interests to dictate which animals survive and which don’t.”

Since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in 1995, their numbers have increased to roughly 1,600 animals now primarily inhabiting Idaho , Montana and Wyoming . However, those states intend to drastically reduce wolf numbers once the animals are stripped of federal protection. Wyoming designates the wolf a “predatory animal” that can be shot on sight across almost 90 percent of the state. Wolf numbers in Idaho and Montana would be drastically curtailed under liberal public hunting and trapping seasons, as well as by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through aerial gunning, trapping and snaring, and gassing of pups in dens.

Wolves have also started to inhabit surrounding states, including four recently established wolf packs in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington, and individual wolves sighted in Utah and Colorado . These animals are in dire need of continued Endangered Species Act protection.

“Wolves have gained a pawhold in the northern Rocky Mountains , but they still need federal protection,” said Robinson. “With anti-wolf attitudes persisting among ranchers and wolf recovery just getting off the ground — or yet to begin in many areas — more work needs to be done to recover the wolf.”

To that end, the Center for Biological Diversity in July 2010 petitioned the federal government to develop a national recovery plan for the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act to establish wolf populations in suitable habitat in the Pacific Northwest, California , Great Basin, southern Rocky Mountains, Great Plains and New England .

Wolves play a critical role in ecosystems. In Yellowstone National Park , wariness of wolves keeps elk from grazing on cottonwood saplings in low-visibility valleys. The cottonwoods that have matured in the 15 years that wolves have been back are reversing decades of ecological decline by providing habitat for birds, shade for fish, erosion control, and dam material and food for beavers whose ponds improve wildlife habitat even more. In Grand Teton National Park , a decline in pronghorn numbers was arrested and reversed by the reintroduction of wolves, which kill coyotes that hunt newborn pronghorns. In similar fashion, wolves benefit foxes. Overall, considering also the carrion that wolves provide to scores of other animals and the wolf’s role in ensuring survival of the fittest in its prey animals, this remarkable species is recognized as an engine of evolution.

www.biologicaldiversity.org

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: assault on the ESA, wolf persecution

Published in: on October 3, 2010 at 10:52 pm  Comments (6)  
Tags: ,
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