Update: March 10, 2013
It looks like SFW founder, Don Peay, will be getting a nice fat check, $300,000 to be exact, of taxpayer money, thanks to the Utah Legislature’s ” natural resources budget committee”, to lobby against wolves. Don Peay is also a founder of Big Game Forever.
The Democrats tried their best to remove the money from the spending plan, but to no avail.
Last year, $300,000 was awarded to Big Game Forever to lobby against wolves. Deja vu’?
And where’s the accountability?
“After hearing a similar pitch from Big Game Forever co-founder Ryan Benson, the Legislature last year appropriated $300,000 to fund wolf-related lobbying, with virtually no oversight of precisely how the money was used or what it accomplished.“…Salt Lake Tribune
“The wolf-lobby contract does require Big Game Forever to submit a report to DWR summarizing its accomplishments and giving an update on wolf-related legislation — but it is not due until June 30, 2013.
Now the Legislature is moving toward appropriating an additional $300,000.
There are no Washington lobbyists currently registered for Big Game Forever and have been none since April 1, 2011.
At a Feb. 21 appropriations hearing, Peay gave a vague response when asked about the work his group has accomplished with this money.
“It’s been used to do a very complex, political, legal, grass-roots effort,” he said. The current line item comes at the request of Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, who did not respond to an email request for comment.”….The Salt Lake Tribune
I’ll be waiting with baited breath to read the June 2013 report showing BGF’s “accomplishments” pertaining to the $300,000 award.
How is this not a conflict of interest? How can the Utah legislature condone these kind of shenanigans by giving taxpayer money to openly anti-wolf advocates? Is Utah in the wolf hating business, where few if any wolves reside? It’s absolutely outrageous.
Over a quarter of a million dollars will likely be paid to an anti wolf advocate, so he can turn around and lobby for wolf delisting across the country?
If you live in Utah please contact Governor Gary Herbert and ask him why large sums of your taxpayer dollars are being handed out to anti-wolf advocates with little oversight, when few if any wolves reside in Utah?
Governor Gary R. Herbert
If you live outside of Utah, please contact their tourism bureau with your concerns.
Utah Office of Tourism
Council Hall/Capitol Hill
300 North State
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
Tourism Questions: 801-538-1030
Just cry wolf
The Salt Lake Tribune Opinion
Your cash for the asking
One of those imaginary hobgoblins is being trotted about on Capitol Hill by legislators and a sportsmen’s group who are pointing at it and sounding the alarm, which goes something like this: Citizens of Utah, the wolf is at the door. But don’t be alarmed. We’re going to make sure he stays there. We just need to take $300,000 of your tax money and hand it over to this sportsmen’s group. They’ll know what to do with it, and you’ll all be safe, at least until next year.
This the second year in a row that someone from Big Game Forever, a Utah-based nonprofit hunting advocacy group, has shown up at the Utah Legislature with his hand out, spouting dire, wholly suspect warnings that the federal government is considering reintroducing the gray wolf to the Beehive State.
The group’s founder, Don Peay, told the Legislature’s natural resources budget committee last week that the money is needed to lobby the feds against such a move. “They want to put Mexican wolves in Utah because the Mexicans don’t want them,” he told lawmakers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says such claims are overblown.
But Peay’s pitch for public money to fight this four-legged hobgoblin doesn’t require much more from him than to cry wolf, just as the organization did last year and was promptly handed $300,000 with virtually no questions asked. At an appropriations hearing last month, when someone had the temerity to ask Peay what last year’s $300,000 had bought the state, he saw no reason to get specific.
Legislators steering another $300,000 to anti-wolf crusade
By Brian Maffly
| The Salt Lake Tribune
Although no one is proposing to reintroduce the gray wolf in Utah, lawmakers want to spend $300,000 for the second consecutive year to lobby federal officials against such a move, arguing that the return of wolves, extirpated almost a century ago, would wipe out big game.
The line item, listed among priority one-time spending requests from the Legislature’s natural resources budget committee, has drawn ridicule from conservationists and citizens who say these expenditures are a silly misuse of tax dollars that could be invested in education or other worthy programs.
“It’s destroying jobs, private property and rural economies,” said Peay, a founder of Big Game Forever,a Salt Lake City-based nonprofit organization told the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality budget committee, referring to what he claims is unfolding in Idaho since the successful wolf reintroduction in the Yellowstone region. “We want to keep Utah a great place to hunt and fish.”
After hearing a similar pitch from Big Game Forever co-founder Ryan Benson, the Legislature last year appropriated $300,000 to fund wolf-related lobbying, with virtually no oversight of precisely how the money was used or what it accomplished. Big Game Forever submitted the only bid to do this lobbying on July 28, 2012, and won the one-year contract four days later.
Utah budget to support anti-wolf measure
The funding is being pushed even though federal officials say no wolf-reintroduction program is being proposed for Utah, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday.
On Friday, Democratic lawmakers tried fruitlessly to strike the money from the spending plan. The measure, which the Tribune said was little-scrutinized, was adopted by the Legislature’s Executive Appropriations Committee.
“It seems like a waste. It’s another challenge to federal authority to protect wildlife. The problem isn’t even here,” said Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, the Senate minority leader.
Anti-wolf group likely to get second $300,000 Utah payment
Politics » Money is included in budget despite Dems’ insistence project is a “waste.”
By Brian Maffly
The Salt Lake Tribune
A $300,000 line item to fund efforts to prevent wolves from being “reintroduced” in Utah as part of a federal gray wolf-recovery effort will be included in the budget headed for final votes in the next few days.
Democratic lawmakers on Friday unsuccessfully attempted to strip the money from the spending plan. Without debate, and on a party-line vote, the little-scrutinized project was adopted by the Legislature’s Executive Appropriations Committee, made up of leaders of the House and Senate.
“It seems like a waste,” said Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City. “It’s another challenge to federal authority to protect wildlife. The problem isn’t even here.”
The $300,000 appropriation — the second in as many years for the anti-wolf campaign — was recommended by Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe.
An outspoken critic of wolves — who also was sponsor of last year’s so-called “Mule Deer Protection Act,” more than doubling the $20 bounty on coyotes — Okerlund received $6,500 in campaign donations last year from the two men requesting the funding.
March 6, 2013