Earthjustice’s lawyers chastise Schweitzer for comments on wolf management

Wyoming not apologetic for thwarting wolf plans

Though Wyoming caused relisting of the wolf twice, they have no plans to change-

The article interestingly enough says that Idaho’s Butch Otter and and Montana’s Brian Schweitzer haven’t bothered to ask Wyoming’s retiring Governor Freudenthal whether Wyoming intends to reconsider.” I’m not sure what to make of that.

Wyoming not apologetic for thwarting wolf plans. Ben Neary Associated Press

Longtime Schweitzer friend tapped to run Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks

Schweitzer’s old roommate will run the state’s wildlife agency-

Maybe someone from Montana could tell us if this is a hopeful appointment.

Because the old head of the agency was appointed by the right wing Governor July Martz, I’d speculate that this will be an improvement.

Story: Longtime Schweitzer friend tapped to run FWP. By Jennifer McKee Of The Billings Gazette Staff

Withdraw from the Interagency Bison Management Plan

This news release was just issued by Buffalo Allies of Bozeman.

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Contact: Chris Klatt
406-599-3629
lodgepole@riseup.net
June 12, 2008

Buffalo Allies of Bozeman Calls on Governor Schweitzer to Withdraw from Interagency Bison Management Plan.
Brucellosis outbreak where there are no bison shows that IBMP is not working for buffalo or for cows.

(Bozeman, Mont.) – The grassroots citizens group Buffalo Allies of Bozeman responded to the Monday announcement of brucellosis in a cattle herd in the Paradise Valley with a challenge to Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer to withdraw from the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP).

According to a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report, the IBMP “lacks accountability and transparency.” The IBMP has also been criticized by Gov. Schweitzer. Despite criticism, federal and state government agencies acted under the IBMP to sanction the slaughter of over 1,600 wild bison this past winter under the guise of preventing the spread of disease to cattle. However, the largest slaughter of buffalo since the 19th century did not prevent cattle in Greater Yellowstone from being afflicted. “There has never been transmission of brucellosis from bison to cattle in the wild, and it is clear that no link can be made between the current outbreak in Pray and Yellowstone’s buffalo herds, which haven’t been that far north in the Paradise Valley since they were extirpated for livestock interests. It’s time to scrap the useless IBMP, which treats buffalo as diseased, domesticated animals instead of as wildlife,” said Buffalo Allies member Jim Macdonald.

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The Schweitzer news release on bison

Here it is. I can’t discern the details from what is in the release. Ralph Maughan

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, April 17, 2008

CONTACTS: Sarah Elliott 406-444-9725

Governor, Park Superintendent, Church President Announce RTR Agreement

(HELENA) – Governor Brian Schweitzer, Church Universal and Triumphant and Royal Teton Ranch (RTR) President Kate Gordon, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis, and several non-government groups today announced completion of a long awaited agreement that moves the Yellowstone-area Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) through a critical step for protection of both Montana’s cattle industry and the Park bison herd.

“For a decade all parties have recognized a critical piece in solving bison, livestock and brucellosis concerns has been the RTR agreement,” said Governor Brian Schweitzer. “This is a good day for bison, livestock, and Montana. I would like to thank all the folks involved in making this happen.”

The IBMP was signed in 2000 by two Montana and three federal agencies: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Montana Department of Livestock, Yellowstone National Park, the Forest Service, and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The plan’s two central goals are to maintain Yellowstone’s wild, free-ranging bison population, and to protect Montana’s livestock industry from the risk of transmission of brucellosis.

Governor Schweitzer, Lewis, and Gordon jointly announced a draft agreement that contains the nuts and bolts of the deal. Superintendent Lewis announced a commitment of $1.5 million toward the deal, while the state has committed to working with nonprofits to contribute a similar amount to the 30-year grazing lease of RTR property. The agreement provides for tolerance of bison while removing cattle and reducing the risk of disease transmission.

“Considering where things stood just a few short years ago, this agreement is remarkable and historic,” said Governor Schweitzer. I commend Kate Gordon and FWP Regional Supervisor Pat Flowers, and their hard-working negotiators, for their perseverance. I especially want to thank Park Superintendent Lewis and the National Wildlife Federation, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, National Parks Conservation Association, and Montana Wildlife Federation for their help in bringing folks together, and committing to finding the dollars to seal the deal.”

The announcement comes on the heels of the recently released Government Accountability Office report that severely criticized federal agencies for lack of progress toward implementation of the IBMP. “Some thought just having this plan in place was enough, and that we didn’t need to show progress. They thought we could keep managing bison in the same scenario, year in and out and somehow expect improved results. They touted this plan as adequate protection for the cattle industry, but the discovery of a herd with brucellosis-infected animals last May way out by Bridger made clear the error of that sort of thinking,” said Governor Schweitzer. “Today we have made great progress on the disease-risk front, despite the foot-dragging by naysayers.”

“For three years now I have offered ideas and pointed out problems with the current plan. I’ve been concerned about going down the same road as Wyoming and Idaho, with loss of their disease-free status. Now we have a GAO report that echoes my concerns, and with today’s agreement we have the impetus to improve this plan, and improve it we will. We’ll continue to work in partnership with those who come to the table in a straightforward manner, with practical ideas to offer.”

The IBMP was designed to operate in steps, with each progressive step designed to better secure disease risk management and bison herd protection goals. It was originally thought that step two of the plan, the RTR deal, would be reached by the winter of 2002-2003, but the plan remained stuck in step one until Governor Schweitzer asked Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to rekindle negotiations with RTR in 2005.

###
Sarah J. Elliott
Communications Director
Governor Brian Schweitzer
406-444-9725
selliott@mt.gov<mailto:selliott@mt.gov>

Important Bison News release

Maybe Montana’s governor is going to finally do something.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

CONTACT: Sarah Elliott 406-444-9725

MEDIA ADVISORY
Governor, Yellowstone Park Superintendent to Make Announcement about
Interagency Bison Management Plan – Tomorrow at Gallatin Airport

(HELENA) – Governor Brian Schweitzer and Yellowstone Park Superintendent
Suzanne Lewis will make a historic announcement about the Interagency Bison
Management Plan tomorrow, Thursday, April 17th at 1:30PM in the conference
room of the Old Terminal Building, north of the control tower at the
Gallatin Field Airport.

WHO: Governor Brian Schweitzer and Yellowstone National Park
Superintendent Suzanne Lewis

WHAT: Announcement about Interagency Bison Management Plan

WHEN: TOMORROW — Thursday, April 17 – 1:30PM

WHERE: Conference Room, Old Terminal Building- North of Control Tower,
Gallatin Field Airport (Between Commercial Terminal and Arlin’s Aircraft)

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