Megaloads video: Giant rig opponents say its your land, water and air versus Exxon

Exxon Mobil is the world’s most profitable corporation-
A new video about their megaloads through Idaho and Montana to their vast toxic pits in Alberta-

Oil companies have colluded with the Idaho’s and Montana’s governors so they can make even more profits than if they built the machinery for the toxic Alberta tar sands mining in Canada.

20 most profitable companies. CNN Money.

Western Montana: Biologists hunt for fisher hair in Fish Creek

They must be nearby. Ken Cole saw one cross Highway 12 about 40 miles SW just the other day-

Biologists hunt for fisher hair in Fish Creek. By Rob Chaney. Missoulian. “The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness appears to be such good fisher habitat that it may hold the last original Montana and Idaho species – unrelated to the transplants that populate the Panhandle and Cabinet Mountains.”

In fact it was immediately north of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness that Ken saw the fisher on Highway 12. Fish Creek in Montana is in the Bitterroot Mountains, west of Missoula.

Montana Governor changes direction on wolves

May be violating federal law

Today Governor Brian Schweitzer has sent a letter to the Department of Interior stating that Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks will no longer prosecute killing of wolves by landowners defending livestock in northwest Montana, they will kill entire packs upon any livestock depredation, and they will kill entire packs of wolves in the Bitterroot to protect elk herds.

This would appear to violate federal law.

The letter is here and copied below : Read the rest of this entry »

Why are the feds paying $3.3 million to graze for 30 years on land worth only about $4 million?

More on the Royal Teton Ranch bison grazing deal

My earlier article about the Church Universal and Triumphant’s $3.3 million deal with the government and some conservation groups for bison grazing has spurred the AnimalTourism blog to do some more investigation into the value of the Royal Teton Ranch itself. What they conclude is pretty interesting. They estimate the value of the ranch to be about $3.9 million.

They ask one question though that I think can be easily answered. Why didn’t the government just buy the RTR rather than pay the exorbitant fee for 30 years of bison grazing? Well, I think that would have been a more reasonable approach too but the CUT didn’t want to sell and the government isn’t buying much anymore these days. The CUT appears to be struggling financially without these payments so they sought the best deal they could and found gullible government agencies and conservationists. It’s a shameful situation.

Why are the feds paying $3.3 million to graze for 30 years on land worth only about $4 million?
AnimalTourism News.

*NEWS: Yellowstone Captures Wild Buffalo

YELLOWSTONE CAPTURES WILD BISON
23 of America’s Last Wild Bison Trapped at Stephens Creek for Royal Teton Ranch Land Lease Experiment

Bison calf being processed at the Stephens Creek Facility YNP

Bison calf being processed at the Stephens Creek Facility YNP

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 5, 2011
Contacts:
Mike Mease, Buffalo Field Campaign, 406-646-0070
Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign, 406-644-2499

GARDINER, MONTANA: Yellowstone National Park and Montana Department of Livestock officials captured twenty-three of America’s last wild bison yesterday afternoon at the Stephens Creek bison trap, located inside Yellowstone National Park.

This capture marks the onset of the highly controversial Royal Teton Ranch (RTR) land lease experiment, an endeavor opposed by wild bison advocates and one that Interagency Bison Management Plan agencies incongruously tout as “increased tolerance” for wild bison in Montana.

“This RTR scheme increases harm and disrespect to buffalo, not tolerance,” said Stephany Seay, a spokesperson with Buffalo Field Campaign.  “It’s a new phase in how Yellowstone and Montana aim to treat wild bison like livestock.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Carter Niemeyer strongly questions Wildlife Services report.

Calls recent Montana report “misleading”.

Carter Niemeyer’s recent book “Wolfer” described, in great detail, the inner workings of Wildlife Services for whom he worked as their Montana western supervisor from 1975-1990 and as their Montana wolf specialist for the following 10 years until he took a post in Idaho as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s wolf recovery coordinator. In the book he describes how the incestuous relationship between the livestock industry and Wildlife Services works to maintain hegemony over how predators are blamed for livestock deaths so that they can be managed and killed and so that the taxpayer funds flow freely. He goes on to describe how the reporting of livestock depredations is routinely influenced by the higher ups in the department so that blame could be squarely placed on any number of predators instead of what usually boils down to poor animal husbandry practices.

Often times he was called to the scene of a “wolf depredation” only to find out, upon investigation, that the animal had died from other causes or that dogs had been behind the incident. When he would write up his report he would skin the animal out to look for hemorrhaging caused by the bites of a wolf or other predator, he would take pictures, he would look for tracks. This was frowned upon by his superiors and he was told to use only the small space on the investigation report form to describe whether the livestock had been killed by predators or not. Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy to take “Senior status”

Senior status Reduces Judge Molloy’s caseload

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy of Montana has announced that he will take “Senior status”.

District Judge Molloy to step aside – Wyoming Tribune

“Senior status” means retirement from active service. Senior judges continue to hear cases, usually with a reduced case load. The announcement, however, said Molloy intends to maintain a “substantial” case load.

It also frees him to sit, by invitation, on the circuit court.

Judge Molloy’s stepping down from his seat will open a vacancy in the Montana federal district court.  Vacancies are filled by appointment from the president, almost always selected by the highest politically ranked congressperson of the president’s party from the state in which the vacancy occurs.

Montana wilderness, jobs bill added to Senate appropriations bill

Senator Tester’s massive forest bill has been added to Senate omnibus appropriations bill-

Every year the U.S. Congress’ procedure becomes more and more unglued. The reason for this is mostly partisan gridlock. So few freestanding bills (called regular order) are allowed by the opposition to pass or fail on a straight vote that extraordinary measures are now being taken if there is to be any action at all, even on necessary bills.

This year is ending up worse than ever.  This is no comment on the merits of Senators Tester’s wilderness/jobs bill.  We have discussed that earlier. That bill, however, largely thought to be dead, has been added to the Senate’s omnibus appropriations bill, and could become law with no direct vote ever having been taken on it.

The way the process is emerging is that almost all legislation for a year will come up in one giant bill that contains every other bill that has somehow found its way through the new, arcane process. The only votes that can be said to count will mostly be those on the giant measure.  What is in the giant bill will be for everyone to discover after the Congress is over, not before the legislation is passed!

Montana wilderness, jobs bill added to Senate appropriations bill. By Rob Chaney Missoulian.

FWP warns MSU over scientist’s wolf study

Come to the same conclusions as we do with the data, or else says Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks!

Despite what FWP says, this is a flat out attempt to suppress the scientific method.

FWP warns MSU over scientist’s wolf study. By Gail Schontzler. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer

It is good to see MSU stand up to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in this matter. In the growing climate of fear and intimidation of science in the United States, you can bet the Montana state legislature will get involved in this.

Dr. Creel’s research conclusions have, in fact, not been as positive for the wolf as wolf conservationists had hoped.  Nevertheless, the state’s anti-wolf wildlife politicians are not happy.

Montana elk hunters around Yellowstone Park have a generally successful season

Madison Valley most successful.  Number of deer killed down slightly-

Elk hunters successful in 2010. Bozeman Chronicle. By Daniel Person.

In addition hunting was good in Northwestern Montana. Here’s the story. Ideal conditions close hunt season. By JIM MAN. The Daily Inter Lake Daily.

Weather helps western Montana hunters close out big game season. Missoulian.

All the articles say it was the great weather for bringing the elk down where they could be more easily found.  However, I thought wolves had nearly destroyed the elk herds.  I guess good weather can actually perform a resurrection (or show what bullshit the wolves-have-killed-everything is).

Tester To Chair Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus

Western Democrats want to gut the Endangered Species Act

Jon Tester, the Democratic Senator for Montana, is facing a tough re-election battle in 2012 which may hinge on the wolf issue. He is desperate to find a solution which allows the State of Montana to manage wolves and wants to get something passed in the Senate during the lame duck session before the next congress is sworn in.

His proposal, also supported by Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus who sold out on the health care bill, is to change the Endangered Species Act to allow distinct population segments (DPS) to be split along state lines to allow wolves to be delisted in Idaho and Montana and not Wyoming. While this may sound like an innocuous change to the ESA it could have devastating effects on the integrity of the ESA for other species. To use political boundaries rather than biological boundaries based on defensible science would allow the Interior Department to incrementally list or delist species based on politics rather than science, a goal of ESA opponents for many years. Essentially it would gut the Act and make it even an weaker tool for protecting endangered species.

But Tester said he thinks there is still a chance that the wolf issue could be dealt with this year. He favors some plan that puts management of the wolf back into state management in Montana and Idaho.

“That is one I would like to get done this lame duck session,” Tester said. “I think the state of Montana had a pretty good plan.”

Tester To Chair Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus – cbs4denver.com.

Otter meeting with Interior secretary, other governors on wolves

Salazar can’t just change the rules without an open, public process under NEPA.

The governors of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana are meeting with Ken Salazar in Denver on Monday to talk about wolves. It will be interesting to see what comes of this. Really, there are very few options for the Department of Interior short of trying again but until Wyoming’s plan is accepted it is unlikely they would be successful. There may still be efforts to get a legislative change to the Endangered Species Act during the lame duck session but for some reason I find them unlikely to move forward.

Otter meeting with Interior secretary, other governors on wolves.
Idaho Reporter

Idaho business group backs plan to move oversized loads on U.S. Highway 12

“Business Group?”  You can bet this group is pure astroturf!

Stung by grassroots opposition in North Idaho and Montana to turning U.S. Highway 12 into an industrial highway to haul oversized oil equipment to Canada, a so-called business group has been formed. If you go to their web site, it seems to be associated with the Farm Bureau and Chamber of Commerce (who reportedly funneled millions of foreign money in the recent congressional campaign).  It would seem appropriate that they now do the bidding of international oil companies who don’t care one bit about the jobs and lives of the people in Idaho and Montana.

You can bet this group itself is no more than a P. O. Box, but from somewhere right now, and the near future, the resources will come to flood inboxes of newspapers, and the electronic media with propaganda of how the movement of all this giant machinery over many years is some great economic benefit to the natives who will watch it roll past, blocking their access to the highway.

Idaho business group backs plan to move oversized loads on U.S. Highway 12. By the Associated Press in missoulian.com

Proposed bill would strip feds of wolf authority within Montana

Another temper tantrum from the reactionaries in Montana.

State Sen. Joe Balyeat, R-Bozeman is planning on reintroducing a bill which claims that the Federal government has no right to manage wolves in Montana. This contradicts numerous court rulings and would most certainly cause the state its present ability to manage wolves and further put any delisting effort out of reach for the region.

Of course it puts in place a few ridiculous sanctions against wolf supporters who may be “party to a lawsuit with the purpose of preventing or delaying the implementation of state management of wolves.”

Another overreach by the reactionary right who want to distract people away from the issues that their ideology fails to solve. This won’t solve joblessness or any of the other problems faced by many in this poor economic climate. It might make a few people happy but the only thing that is really clear is that more jumping up and down and screaming about how unfair things are doesn’t solve the problem that they have identified.

Go ahead Joe. The wolves will thank you.

Proposed bill would strip feds of wolf authority within Montana.
Rob Chaney Missoulian

FWP eliminates wolf coordinator post

Will Montana drop wolf management entirely?

Carolyn Sime has been moved from her post as wolf coordinator to work on other issues but it appears that may not be the only change. It appears that Montana may be considering following Idaho’s lead and drop wolf management entirely. At least it is not “off the table”.

FWP eliminates wolf coordinator post.
By EVE BYRON Independent Record

Movement of giant oil equipment through Montana sparks Missoula protest

Oversized, outsized equipment protest. . . the first of years of citizen anger against environmental disruption and traffic delays?

It seems to me that this will not be a one time event because the passage of this huge equipment through north central Idaho and then Montana will be ongoing for many years.

Missoula demonstrators protest big rigs, fossil fuels at Exxon station. By Gwen Florio.  Missoulian

Veteran Hunter’s Take on MT Elk Season

Carter Niemeyer talks about the Montana elk hunt-

He is a long time elk hunter and former federal wolf recovery coordinator for Idaho. He worked in Montana for most of his career (Wildlife Services)

Veteran Hunter’s Take on MT Elk Season. Public News Service.

Posted in Elk, Montana, Wolves. Tags: . 61 Comments »

Montana ballot initiative I-161 seeks to abolish 5,500 outfitter-sponsored big-game licenses.

“Outfitter set-asides” on the line. Will the average hunter benefit?

Is it a fairness issue? Will it serve to improve public access? Will it hurt or help the economy?

There has already been some discussion of I-161 here in this forum.

Is I-161 good for the future of hunting or just bad for business? By Michael Babcock. Great Falls Tribune.

Reminder: Re-Wilding Montana is TONIGHT

An Event in Missoula, Montana on October 25, 2010

It never fails. Every time I find myself driving across the immense open space and undulating landscape of the front range in Montana, I puzzle myself over the absence of bison. And each time I hear about the threat posed to livestock by wolves, I wonder how different it would be if bison were out there. Just today, I was speaking to Chief Jimmy St. Goddard of the Blackfeet Nation about restoring balance to nature (versus plopping species down onto landscapes), and he stated “wolves will go where the bison are.” Humans, being lazy by nature, tend to think that given the choice between cows and bison, wolves would favor the slow, dumb ones. But we’ve never given them that choice. Since wolves co-evolved with bison, I tend to think Chief Jimmy knows what he is talking about.

Last year, WWP’s Montana office premiered “Lords of Nature” in Montana, a film documenting the importance of top predators like wolves to healthy ecosystems. Scientists were surprised to learn after reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone that there was a dramatic improvement in riparian ecosystems, benefitting fish and birds and creating a cascading beneficial effect on the food chain. Then we had a lively panel discussion that included Montana Wolf Coordinator Carolyn Syme. In arguing for management authority in federal court, Montana emphasized how “all species fit together”, with the wolf being an “integral part” of the ecosystem. But when asked why bison should not then be welcomed back to Montana, Syme refused to answer, pretending the question was a matter of opinion, not science.

Read the rest of this entry »

Latest Montana official wolf news. Oct 7-15, 2010

We haven’t been posting these are frequently as we could. Here is the latest. It has quite a bit of news. We have not seen an Idaho wolf news report since June.

Highway 12 promise to become industrial highway found hidden in Korean!

Promises to Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil to use scenic Highway 12 to haul huge oil modules for a decade discovered hidden on Korean, not in plain English-

Talk about lack of transparency in Montana and Idaho state governments!  It’s good this was revealed just before Butch Otter has to face reelection as governor of Idaho.

Korean Documents Show 10-Year Promise for Highway 12. Public News Service.

The first pieces of the Korean equipment are now sitting in Lewiston, Idaho, ready to haul up through the Lolo country on Highway 12 and over to Montana.

Cocker drum ready to go in Lewiston. Photo from Conoco-Philips

Re-Wilding Montana

An Event in Missoula, Montana on October 25, 2010

It never fails. Every time I find myself driving across the immense open space and undulating landscape of the front range in Montana, I puzzle myself over the absence of bison. And each time I hear about the threat posed to livestock by wolves, I wonder how different it would be if bison were out there. Just today, I was speaking to Chief Jimmy St. Goddard of the Blackfeet Nation about restoring balance to nature (versus plopping species down onto landscapes), and he stated “wolves will go where the bison are.” Humans, being lazy by nature, tend to think that given the choice between cows and bison, wolves would favor the slow, dumb ones. But we’ve never given them that choice. Since wolves co-evolved with bison, I tend to think Chief Jimmy knows what he is talking about.

Last year, WWP’s Montana office premiered “Lords of Nature” in Montana, a film documenting the importance of top predators like wolves to healthy ecosystems. Scientists were surprised to learn after reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone that there was a dramatic improvement in riparian ecosystems, benefitting fish and birds and creating a cascading beneficial effect on the food chain. Then we had a lively panel discussion that included Montana Wolf Coordinator Carolyn Syme. In arguing for management authority in federal court, Montana emphasized how “all species fit together”, with the wolf being an “integral part” of the ecosystem. But when asked why bison should not then be welcomed back to Montana, Syme refused to answer, pretending the question was a matter of opinion, not science.

This year, we are presenting two films with a panel discussion. We’re excited to show the new High Plains Films documentary on bison, “Facing the Storm.” According to the filmmakers, the film shows that “the American bison is not just an icon of a lost world, but may very well show us the path to the future.” In a second theatre, we will be showing a film that premiered at the Wildlife Film Festival last year, “The Wolf that Changed America.” It’s a remarkable story about a wolf bounty hunter named Ernest Seton who was hired in 1893 to kill America’s last wolf, a notoriously crafty and elusive wolf named Lobo, and was so changed by the ordeal that he became a global advocate for wolves and helped spearhead America’s wilderness movement. Afterward, there will be a panel discussion with George Wuerthner, author of “Welfare Ranching”, Richard Manning, author of “Rewilding the West”, FWP Commissioner Ron Moody, and Chief Jimmy. Buffalo Field Campaign Spokesperson Stephany Seay will moderate the discussion.

According to recent scientific studies by independent experts, wild bison present almost no risk whatsoever of transmitting brucellosis to livestock. So the kind of balanced wildlife management approach we intend to discuss in this public forum is socially feasible, scientifically justified, morally compelling, and economically smart. Please join the dialogue.

Tom Woodbury, Montana Director, Western Watersheds Project.

Read the rest of this entry »