300 Buffalo Captured at Yellowstone National Park’s Northern Boundary

Those that test positive for brucellosis exposure to be slaughtered

The slaughter of bison in Yellowstone has begun in earnest. Today Buffalo Field Campaign volunteers witnessed the capture of at least 300 buffalo in the Stephens Creek capture facility.

It appears that 13 of the bison captured were from the group of 25 allowed to leave the Park under a $3.3 million deal between conservation groups, the government, and the Church Universal and Triumphant. Those bison were captured and taken back to the Park on Friday and another one was shot because agents said she refused to go where they wanted her to. This leaves 10 out of the Park on those lands with another one whose whereabouts are unknown. The captured bison also probably include the 62 which were released from the Stephens Creek trap on Thursday.

This deal was touted as a “major breakthrough” by the groups who supported it but so far it has been an expensive fiasco.

Generally around 50% of bison test positive for exposure to brucellosis and Al Nash, spokesman for Yellowstone National Park, told the Buffalo Field Campaign that all of the bison that test positive for brucellosis exposure will be slaughtered. The test does not conclusively show that the bison actually have brucellosis and culture tests done in the past, which look for the actual bacteria rather than antibodies expressed by the buffalo, show that the rate of infection is actually much lower.

Winter takes toll on northeastern Montana wildlife

Pronghorn and mule deer hit hard-

Winter takes a toll on northeastern Montana wildlife. By Brett French. Billings Gazette.

I posted a news release from ID Fish and Game the other day about winter conditions and wildlife in Eastern Idaho, but hardly anyone read it.  I took it down. I’ll watch this one to see if there is a true lack of  interest in the subject.

Local megaload opposition relents on first 4 megaloads

Opponents of the megaloads drop fight on the first four-

Having lost before the Idaho Department of Transportation, opponents of the oil megaloads will no longer try to stop the first four of them.  These are bound for the existing oil refinery in Billings, Montana. The next 200 megaloads (not approved for now) are for what many see as the tar sand pits from hell in Alberta, Canada.

Movement of the first four should reveal much about who is right about them?  Will the loads have great difficulty getting up the highway and over Lolo Pass?  Will there be an accident?  Will they be safely parked during the day, or will they end up blocking traffic? Will the megaloads harm the highway surface or warp the bridges?  Will the megaloads generate any local employment beyond a few people holding signs and public revenues going to pay for highway patrol escorts?

Idaho megaload opponents: Let big rigs roll to Billings. By Kim Briggeman of Missoulian. missoulian.com

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Feb. 1, 2011 update. As Megaloads Roll, What Two of Three Plaintiffs Learned About Opposition. New West (feature article). By Steve Bunk.  New West has done an outstanding job covering the megaloads issue. This is their latest feature article.

I was particularly impressed with this quote in the article, “Referring to state troopers who accompany megaloads through Idaho, Laughy remarked, ‘I find it particularly interesting that our state could be contracting out our police to the South Korean government.’ ”  I say it’s a good example what happens when we (the United States) are well on our way to being a colony of the corporations of other parts of the world (thanks to the work of people like provincial governor Butch Otter).

Text of Judge Molloy’s latest wolf decision

Molloy says an “experimental” (10)j wolf population most likely does not exist-

Here is the actual text of the judge’s latest wolf decision.  I think he is also saying a valid 10j population has not existed for some time, although he did not resurrect the argument that the original 10j reintroduction was not proper.  Molloy’s order on experimental wolves

I think he may have cut the Gordian Knot. It is unclear still to me what the effects of this will be — who actually won. Strictly speaking, the government won (I mean on paper).

9th Circuit makes it easier for citizens to temporarily stop a gov’t project

Court of Appeals limits scope of Supreme Court decision and overturns Judge Molloy-

A couple years ago in Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council the U. S. Supreme Court continued its trend toward make it harder to temporarily stop government actions before irreparable harm was done. Applying this viewpoint, Montana federal district Judge Molloy let a timber sale begin and many trees were cut while conservationists were seeking an injunction on the sale so that their arguments could be heard.  This made it so if they won, they would not win because the project they sought to halt was completed.  Fortunately, in my view, the 9th Circuit overturned Molloy. This will allow  citizens to more easily get an injunction if they have strong arguments.

The precedent is not simple, but it does strengthen the hand of those opposing government projects from having their cases made moot by letting government build a powerline or whatever while the powerline, etc. is being litigated.

Appeals Court Rejects U.S. Request for Rehearing in Mont. Timber Case. By Lawrence Hurley of Greenwire. New York Times.

Judge’s ruling could threaten state’s ability to kill wolves

This is a very important case

Judge Molloy has issued a order asking the defendants and plaintiffs why the 10(j) lawsuit “should not be dismissed as moot due to the absence of a population meeting the statutory requirements for 10(j) status.”

If the lawsuit is dismissed wolves in all of the Northern Rockies could lose their status as an experimental, non-essential population or 10(j) status and receive full protection under the Endangered Species Act.  This would be because wolves from the Central Idaho and Greater Yellowstone populations have bred with those in the Northern Idaho/Northwest Montana population which came from Canada on their own and enjoy full protection of the ESA because they are not part of the 10(j) population.  To receive 10(j) status, a population must be “wholly separate geographically from nonexperimental populations of the same species.”.

This would surely heat up the debate about wolves and would make it much more difficult to kill wolves for protection of ungulates and livestock in all areas where wolves exist in the Northern Rockies. This would also change the whole dynamic at play with Wyoming’s intransigence. If wolves remain listed in Wyoming and this lawsuit is dismissed then wolves there would be much more difficult to kill. This would provide ample motivation for Wyoming to come up with a management plan that is acceptable to the USFWS.

As soon as we get a copy of the order we will post it.

Judge’s ruling could threaten state’s ability to kill wolves
Lewiston Morning Tribune.

Judge’s ruling could put new limits on wolf hunts
Associated Press

The Billionaire Brothers Who Make Us Sick

The Koch Brothers, enemy of the world-

A few months ago hardly anyone had heard of these two selfish billionaires who have been funding much of the far right’s effort to tear down the protection of our water, air, food supply, as well as, IMO, support policies that will destroy America herself. They support a radical state’s right’s view that would destroy the central government precisely because they know a collection of small states cannot stand up to them and their money on anything. Not on protecting our jobs, not on protecting our financial investments, not on protecting our small businesses,  not on giving us access to good health care, not on maintaining competition in the marketplace, and, of course, not on protecting the land, air and water that give us life.

In fact, the “giant-corporation-first” philosophy, which so many international corporations use as their guide, is perhaps the greatest threat today every sovereign nation in the world faces. The giant corporations will plow every country under.

I ran across a brand new piece today from the head of the Sierra Club. Michael Brune’s opinions are at the link. My “modest” introduction might be what you might think is a bit strong. Brune gives the facts.

We can’t ignore these people any longer.

The Billionaire Brothers Who Make Us Sick. From Michael Brune’s blog. Sierra Club.

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Here is the original article on the Koch Brothers, exposing their operation. Covert Operations. By Jane Mayer August 30, 2010. The New Yorker.