Despite a lawsuit against issuing another permit for Wyoming to continue its dangerous disease-spreading practice of mass feeding of elk in the wintertime, the Forest Service has prevailed in its effort to reissue the permit for the elk feedlots on national forest land without any analysis of its environmental impacts.
The Forest Service used a categorical exclusion or CE, which has become a very common end run around the National Environmental Policy Act during the Bush Administration. The pretension of a CE is that the effects are so minor and the controversy so little, that analysis doesn’t have to be done, something absolute contrary to the facts in this case (and many others).
Story in the Casper Star Tribune. By Whitney Royster.
Included in this is Wyoming Game and Fish’s new “test and slaughter” program for elk that react positively for the presence of antibodies to brucellosis. They kill the elk that test positive. They let the rest enter the winter feedlot. Unfortunately, the testing has lots of false-positives and false-negatives.
Just a reminder that Wyoming’s governor is complaining about the decimation of the elk herds by wolves at the same time this slaughter is going on. Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, Wyoming is also complaining about wolves as they stand idly by and let the state shoot elk and then send them onto feedots which perpetuate the infection.
A solution that would work is to buy up winter range for elk (Wyoming is rolling in money from the energy boom) and then abolish the feedlots. Brucellosis would soon virtually disappear as has been shown among those Wyoming elk that avoid feedlots.
The objections to this come from those make a living pitching hay to the elk, those who like to see the herds of elk standing behind a fence, and, of course, ranchers who don’t want elk on the winter range they would rather use for cattle.
If Montana doesn’t feed elk and it does well, Wyoming should follow Montana’s example.
As a footnote, Idaho feeds a little bit, and the result was the elk passed brucellosis to nearby cattle and the state lost its “brucellosis-free” status for a year.
Earlier stories on this:
Newer article Jan. 9, 2007. Jackson Hole News and Guide. 4 feed grounds receive permits. By Cory Hatch.