December 18, 2017

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries Solicit Public Input on Conservation Agreements Policy under the Endangered Species Act

Press Release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

November 21, 2017

Contact(s):

Ivan Vicente
703-358-1730
ivan_vicente@fws.gov


 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the NOAA Fisheries are actively working to engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and protect imperiled species, even before they are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The agencies are committed to strengthening the delivery of voluntary conservation tools, such as Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAA), by making it easier to work together on conservation efforts, thus are soliciting public review and comment on whether to revise the existing CCAA policy and accompanying regulations.

Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances are designed to provide an incentive to landowners to implement specific conservation measures for declining species that are not currently listed under the ESA. To participate in a CCAA, non-federal property owners can voluntarily implement specific conservation measures that reduce or eliminate threats on their land to species covered under the agreement. In return, they receive assurances that they will not be required to undertake any additional conservation measures nor be subject to additional resource use or land use restrictions, even if the species becomes listed under the ESA.

In order to improve the process for working with states, tribes and private landowners, the Service and NOAA Fisheries finalized a revision of the CCAA policy on December 27, 2016.

The policy and regulation revisions did not change landowner requirements for participation in the program, but rather clarified and simplified the standard for approving CCAAs. These changes were designed to encourage more landowners to participate in these agreements, and to speed up the approval process, by making the approval standard simpler and clearer. However, these changes have been interpreted in different ways by some members of the public, with some interpreting it to be a higher standard while others considered it to be a lower standard than the previous policy.

Based on comments received, the agencies will decide whether and how to revise the policy and regulations. The notice will publish in the Federal Register on November 22, 2017. Written comments and information concerning these notices can be submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to
    • FWS/NOAA Fisheries policy notice at Docket No. [FWS-HQ-ES-2017-0074]
    • FWS regulations notice at Docket No. [FWS-HQ-ES-2017-0075]
  • U. S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: [FWS-HQ-ES-2017-0074] or [FWS-HQ-ES-2017-0075]; Division of Policy, Performance and Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg Pike – MS: BPHC Falls Church, VA 22041-3808.

Comments must be received within 60 days, on or before January 22, 2018. The Service will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes.

For more information, please visit: https://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/ccaa-policy.html

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Wolves and Chaos

A Talk Given at the Annual Agri-Women Conference

Bloomington, Minnesota

18 November 2017

 By

 Jim Beers

 

It is an honor to be invited to speak to you about wolves in the Lower 48 States.

Your 2005 Veritas Award hangs in my office.  This talk, that I expect will have some far-reaching national impacts, has been composed with my appreciation for that Award in mind. What I say about wolves is equally true about federal grizzly bears, spotted owls, smelt, suckers and frogs that have evolved into tools destroying Rural America in so many ways.  This is the result of a federal law, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that has created unaccountable bureaucrats and their bureaucracies that work with extremist environmental and animal rights groups to enact a multitude of hidden agendas that deeply trouble Rural America today.  It is with this in mind that I hope what I say here about wolves and the remedy I propose will be of use to not only those with wolf problems but also to those that realize the need for reform of the ESA and several other environmental and animal rights laws that are eroding rural life, rural families and rural communities throughout our country.

I assume some, if not most, of you are troubled by wolves to some degree and it is to you that I am directing my observations.

  1. History – After more than two decades of speaking and writing about wolves I have learned one sure thing.  That is that despite:

–       Wolves are ubiquitous and number in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions considering the difficulty of counting them and the vastness of Asia and the tendencies of European and Lower 48 bureaucrats to manipulate unchallengeable numbers.

–       The millions of dollars stolen by federal bureaucrats, that were never even admonished, from Excise Taxes intended for state wildlife programs in order to trap, transport, introduce and protect initial wolf introductions (something that Congress had refused to authorize or fund) in the Upper Rockies.

–       The preposterous collusions between federal bureaucrats and radical NGO’s (one of which hired an agency Director as a top Manager after she had appointed them to “manage” livestock “compensation”) to create the illusion of “compensating” farmers and ranchers but not dog owners for animal property killed or maimed by wolves.

–       The impacts on sheep and cattle operations from higher costs (for protection), increased stress on agriculture families, animal losses, and lower land values as with a New Mexico rancher that could neither sell his ranch nor give into his son because of persistent wolf predation thereby making it a cheap target only for government purchase or easement.

–       The steady federal progress in claiming increasing authority over state wildlife jurisdictions that was enabled by federal exclusive ESA authority over the wolves and their interfaces with all manner of human activities from ranching and hunting, to dogs and human safety.

–       The official denials of human history with wolves from Plato to the present regarding wolf attacks and wolf impacts on humans, their property and their rural societies in general.

–       The denial of what is an increasingly common phenomenon; cross-breeding between wolves, coyotes and domestic dogs in North America and Europe.  Wolves also opportunistically breed with and produce viable offspring with dingoes and jackals.

–       The denial and cover-up of both recent human attacks by wolves and the dangers posed by over 30 deadly and debilitating diseases and infections from Rabies and Brucellosis to Foot-and-Mouth, Parvo, Distemper Mad Cow carried and spread by wolves.

–       The reduction of big game herds (Minnesota lost so many moose as wolves increased that moose hunting was suspended with no indication of ever being resumed) and the sizeable revenue losses supporting wildlife programs due to the losses of hunting opportunities and the myriad businesses they support in rural communities.

–       The losses of hunting (bear, cougar, rabbit, bird, etc.) dogs, watchdogs, pet dogs, tracking dogs and guard (livestock) dogs to wolves and the resulting further loss of hunters and the benefits (economic, social, traditional, cultural, etc.) of their hunting and things such as the availability of trained hounds for tracking problem bears, cougars and missing persons.

–       The fact that wolves are now present and spreading in over half the Lower 48 States; an area they find rich in food, space and low to non-existent human harassment; does not preclude the time when wolf densities will eventually exceed the available garbage, game and domestic animal food sources causing human attacks, livestock losses and disease problems to multiply to the annual levels sustained to great human life and property loss in Asia for centuries.

–       I could mention more such wolf impacts like diversion of millions from state wildlife managementcover-up of dollars spent, being spent and estimated to be spent both federally and state-wise on wolvescorruption of Universities and academics for grants, future academic recognition and resulting tenure for providing necessary justificationsappalling “nature” myth indoctrinations taught in schools such as the “necessity” of wolves in “the ecosystem”, the “necessity” of “restoring native wildlife”, and the “reasons” children and the elderly should not fear wolves in the settled landscapes of the Lower 48 States.

Despite all of the above; the “one sure thing” I learned is, no one except those being directly impacted really cares.  The politicians get votes from urban dreamers; the NGO’s get donations and subscriptions to accomplish their hidden agendas from free-roaming buffalo in agricultural areas to transferring rural private property to government land control; academic grants and tenure; and the bureaucrat raises, promotions, bonuses, and larger retirements.  It is fair to say that increasing areas of rural America and numbers of rural Americans find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place regarding wolves.

  1. Today– Wolves are present today in over half of the Lower 48 States.  There is really only one wolf but federal bureaucrats proliferate imaginary “breeds” (like dog breeds) by declaring “red” wolves in the Carolinas and “Mexican” wolves in Arizona and New Mexico over strenuous local opposition for decades.  Wolves in MN, WI and MI are now called “Great Lakes” Wolves. Wolves in the NW, though descended from wolves trapped at undisclosed locations in N Canada are simply called grey wolves.  Promised low wolf levels in “restorations” were blown through by bureaucrats and NGO’s like Bonnie and Clyde blowing through a roadblock and there is still no agreement about either “too high” or “too low” populations and distributions; tolerable methods (if any) of controlling or managing wolves; or the losses sustained or stresses endured by rural residents forced to live with wolves..

Wolves are federally “Listed” under the ESA in nearly all Lower 48 States.  Urban-controlled states like CA, IL and WA also protect them under strict state laws while rural states like UT and ND try to keep them out. Other states like MN remain quiescent explaining moose declines as due to climate change and an attack on a sleeping camper in a USFS campground as due to a wolf with a “deformed brain”.  The majority of all states with wolves publish questionable data, cover-up attacks and damages, and generally divert funds and manpower clandestinely as they attempt to navigate these political rapids with their feet in two canoes – one belonging to powerful urban political pro-wolf lobby groups; the other belonging to those rural residents putting up with one wolf outrage after another as wolves (like dogs and coyotes) learn to evade controls, expand their territories and find new food sources in the “food-rich” and “unused-to-wolves” settled landscapes of the Lower 48.  I have met rural mothers that no longer let their sons go camping or on Scout overnights where wolves have been seen or have killed dogs, especially where federal government-introduced and protected grizzlies are also now present in the Lower 48 States.

Some states like ID, MT, and WY have exerted political pressure to have “Wolf Management Returned to the State” and others like WI are pursuing similar relief as politicians play with them by offering “proposed” legislation passed in a Congressional Committee as a sign of progress or “Management Agreements” that are little more than dictates from federal overseers to be maintained and paid for by state agencies with money from wherever they can find it.  Wolf-advocate-NGO’s, bureaucrats and certain Congressional staffers then undermine it, using money and political lobby machines in Washington with varying intensity that is no more than a reflection of the Administration and Congressional temperature du jour.  But as appealing as that sounds to those dealing with wolves, “Returning Management” whether by an “Agreement” or a legislative exception is merely a placebo with no lasting effect meant only to quiet anti-wolf complaints and currently keep the wolf issue low on the radar as the complaints of the last few years die down and now as the Trump phenomenon tears at the federal establishment.

Those states “gifted” “their” wolf management by federal bureaucrats and politicians must:

–       Maintain federally-dictated levels and distributions of wolves.

–       Pay millions annually with wildlife program revenues and resources such as facilities, equipment and manpower to control, census, administer, enforce, study, defend (in court), compensate owners, justify wolves as they impact hunting, ranching, farming, rural life, rural economies, etc.

–       Publicly depend on initially high wolf “license” sales that are inadequate to begin with for managing wolves.  Over time the sales of wolf licenses decline as the combination of low harvest numbers (wolves are difficult to hunt or trap) and large numbers of license buyers that become discouraged.  This causes a fallback to looser regulations for rural people to kill wolves whenever problematic that is intolerable to federal overseers and a steady clandestine diversion of state funding from wherever it can be grabbed without complaint.

–       The costs of “managing” wolves in accord with federal mandates are truly astronomical and divert current state wildlife program efforts to degrees and cost levels hidden by state and federal bureaucrats.  Not too far into the future, a backward glance by taxpayers and (former) state wildlife program beneficiaries will expose a diminishment of wildlife funding and effort from license sale revenue declines due to increased hunter declines; a tax burden increase on state general revenues for wildlife annual and specific control demands to “compensation” claims for livestock and dogs that will be unsustainable. Increases in wildlife problems from livestock depredation increases to sustained human safety and health concerns alone will be well beyond state or federal sustained attention given the loss of hunters, trappers, trained dogs and both the usefulness and benefits from revenue and animal controls they once provided rural America

Keep in mind that these things, after the past two decades, are currently relatively quiet where wolves are expanding.  Relatively quiet federal bureaucrats are watching the hustling and dissembling state bureaucrats’ striving to please the powerful NGO’s while misleading rural Americans simultaneously.  The NGO’s are ready to pounce with lawsuits about killing too many wolves, humane law violations, poor documentation, and government land closure claims.  New laws, amendments and regulatory tweaks are always being discussed behind closed doors but there is a prevalent note of caution as the danger of overreaching in this period of political reform and turbulence calls for bureaucratic patience.

IIIThe Problem  State wildlife agencies, like their federal counterparts, are now majority employees that cannot (because they are “educated” in Universities that oppose it) “manage” wildlife or plant environments: they can and will only “save” and close an unending procession of lands and human activities as they build a Brave New World of “saving” everything in Rural America except human society.  Wildlife biologists no longer manage wildlife for human benefit just like today’s “forester” no longer manages timber for human benefit and the “range manager” no longer manages “the range” for human benefit.  Both the bureaucracies and the Universities that formerly taught these sciences have become islands of ideologues arrayed against and not with the Rural America that they intend to vacate and then claim.  Behind the carefully-designed persona of USFS, BLM, USFWS, EPA, et al lays bureaucrats with the power of Soviet Commissars and agendas that are truly dangerous to Rural America.

What applies to wolves, applies to grizzly bears, spotted owls, Delta smelt, Ivory-billed Woodpeckers and a host of similar select wildlife species.  They are grist for a myriad of hidden agendas not least of which is the personal and organizational enrichment of bureaucrats; politicians; academics, environmental extremists; and allied conservation and human use organizations like those representing hunters, dog owners and animal husbandry businesses.

I will state here unequivocally that if you think you have trouble with wolves, you are mistaken.  Your basic problem is not with wolves: your basic problem is with government. Unless and until you resolve this government aspect of the wolf problems; you are doing only what Neville Chamberlain did when waving a piece of paper and saying that his meeting with “Mr. Hitler” had brought “peace in our time”. Unless and until you limit the authority being exercised by federal bureaucrats under the ESA; things with wolves and other wildlife will only get worse to degrees and in ways I hesitate to mention because of the disbelief it would engender.

If you think I exaggerate, consider how far this bureaucrat empowerment has come in the last two decades:

–       Federal bureaucrats can steal millions from state programs with no consequences.

–       Federal bureaucrats can introduce wolves despite Congressional refusal to authorize it, again with no consequences.

–       Federal bureaucrats can name and rename “species” and “populations” in ways that further extremist agendas without challenge.

–       Federal bureaucrats can “take” (with “Habitat” claims) Private Property; decimate rural economies; destroy rural communities, local governments and rural tax revenue without any responsibility.

–       Federal bureaucrats can get “secret” appropriations for clandestine operations as USFWS did over a decade ago with $14M to find a bird extinct for 70 years, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

–       Federal bureaucrat appointees head up multi-million dollar organizations when Administrations change and they resign.  It is so common and routine in today’s world of transferring retirement accounts to new jobs that the “musical chairs” between Federal, State, NGO and Academic players in these issues for full-time, part-time and after-retirement grants and positions that business card stores are keeping busy.

–       Federal bureaucrats exercise discretion such that oil companies with modest sludge pits that kill a few grebes are publicly prosecuted, fined and pilloried while wind turbine farms killed millions of protected birds for decades with impunity free from prosecution and publicity only to be granted future carte blanche bird kill permits even including hundreds of eagles.

A government problem, i.e. unfettered bureaucratic power, can only be resolved by a government solution as was learned by Americans fed up with the effects of Prohibition in the early 1930’s.  All the “ecosystem” arguments and all the denial of history and all the faux science about willows along streams and “Alpha” wolves, etc. are simply window dressing to make you feel good and to encourage urban voters to ever-greater oppression of rural residents and their communities in the name of “biodiversity” and “native species”.

  1. The Solution– As a retired wildlife biologist with 30+ years of federal bureaucracy; a year as a Congressional Fellow on Capitol Hill; and as a writer and speaker on these matters for over 15 years: I believe there are only two solutions that hold any hope and we must choose one of them if there is to be any hope for rural America.  Unless and until the arbitrary and unfettered power of federal bureaucrats to manipulate animals like wolves (deadly, destructive, ubiquitous and not even a species) and other wild animals as they wish; and unless the unjust and ruinous aspects of the authority and jurisdiction of federal power simply absorbing State and Local government roles and Constitutional responsibilities under the shadow of the ESA (and other such federal laws (not just regulations) like – The Airborne Hunting ActAnimal Welfare ActMarine Mammal Protection ActNational Forest Management ActNational Park Service ActNational Wildlife Refuge Administration ActWild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros ActWilderness Act; the broadened and abused Executive Order aspects of the Antiquities Act, and the federal drafting and use of UN Convention Mandates to manufacture increased federal authority over everything from takings and guns to wildlife, rural land use and state and local government roles in general.

Choose one:

  1. Amend the Endangered Species Act to redirect federal authority back into line with Constitutional precedence and understanding.  This would require that all ongoing and future federal Endangered Species activity in every state (planning, funding, land acquisition, property easement, public land use changes, compensation, wildlife control, introductions, habitat modifications, human activity regulation, private property controls, etc.) must have the participation and a signed approval on a five-year basis from the Governor of the State.  I would recommend that State laws be simultaneously amended or drafted to give those Counties directly affected by any proposed Endangered Species activity preferential status in any state approval process.  For instance require that the Governor MUST have the agreement of 50(?), 75(?) percent of the Counties DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY THE PROPOSED FEDERAL ENDANGERED  ACTIONS and that there must be at least three public hearings on the proposed actions before the Counties affected are asked to approve or oppose the action.  It is no more right for federal bureaucrats to oppress rural communities with lesser political clout than it is for the Madison/Milwaukee, Wisconsins or the Portland/Eugene, Oregons of the USA to oppress their less numerous rural neighbors, their economies and their “ways-of-life”.  Assuring state approval and involvement in any federal endangered species activity returns a very real check on currently unchecked federal bureaucratic power.  Assuring a serious rural voice in any and all state approval action brings a balance to those voiceless rural Americans often harmed unknowingly by urban neighbors with “no real dog in the fight”.  Making the point that, unlike the supporters of Sanctuary Cities and Sanctuary States, those of us harmed by and opposing effects of an onerous federal law believe in changing that law to eliminate the harms while providing for achieving the original intent of the law.

Or:

  1. Repeal the Endangered Species Act and restore the historic American jurisdictional roles regarding wild animals.  This might well be the best solution for wildlife as well as rural Americans.  Let those noticing and concerned about the diminishment of a wild species or population first look to their own funding and conclusions.  Let them hire academic specialists to confirm the status and make recommendations, if necessary.  Let them raise money and if private funding or voluntary modifications cannot be generated, let them turn to state government for funding or to ask the state DNR/F&G for help.  Absent sufficient support, let those concerned seek to build a partnership between their counterparts in nearby states to institute beneficial activities.  Absent success in that regard, let them appeal to their federal representatives through a planning process like that outlined under #1 above complete with state approval for presentation to the Appropriate Congressional Committees.  That is the American way and a recent example of the success of this approach is the discovery of and application of biological controls to limit the national expansion of Purple Loosestrife by several state wildlife agencies utilizing the Excise Taxes collected on arms and ammunition for state wildlife programs.

Neither solution requires pages of complex gibberish or defies understanding by the general public.  Each is simple, saves money and enhances Rural American life in more ways than we have time to list here.  Only when one is accomplished can any state, through its local governments take the pulse of those living with wolves and begin to implement:

  1. If, and if so where, wolves will be tolerated?
  2. What state legislation, if any, is required?
  3. Are capable employees available, trained and willing to carry out these tasks?
  4. How many wolves will be tolerated?
  5. When and how wolves will be controlled and by whom, at what cost?
  6. How will tolerable wolf levels be achieved and how will they be maintained?
  7. What methods and circumstances will be tolerated or banned?
  8. How much is the cost; where does it come from; and who pays it?

These are all fertile subjects for a talk when next you invite me to speak.

  1. Chaos as Opportunity– I sense an exasperation and hopelessness that I have encountered for many years, in many locations.  If this is even possible and the two answers could fit on a postcard; how come it has not been done already?  The answer is, your level of frustration and hopelessness has never been so high, so widespread, and your level of understanding about where all this is leading has never been as thorough.

Something else has changed that makes what has been believed to be impossible, possible.  It is called Chaos and it may be our chance to make the unmentionable, mentionable and to reverse the rule of bureaucrat commissars to restore the Constitutional rule of free men and women by a limited government as envisioned in the Constitution.

Consider the following historic results from Chaos.  Remember that some are good, some are bad, but all were unforeseen and significant thanks to the advantages presented by chaos and the ability of supporters to capitalize on that chaos:

–       From 1773 (Boston Tea Party) to 1781(Yorktown) we fought a hard and divisive Revolutionary War.  Six years later in 1787 we united under a bitterly-argued Constitution no one really anticipated and that has been uniquely functional to this day.  Absent the tumult and chaos of those years, it is unlikely that any such document and nation would have ever existed.

–       In 1865 Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox.  From 1864 to January 1959 14 states were admitted to the Union, of those, 12 (Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, etc.) were admitted with large percentages of the state (unlike MN, IL, MI, MS, etc.) withheld by federal fiat in defiance of existing federal legislation and precedence under the Property Clause of the US Constitution and the Northwest Ordinance.  This reserved land formed the nucleus of today’s “federal” estate and the land managing agencies roaming out of control today.  Much of the motivation for withholding was the residue of a federal victory over the states and the feeling that states should not be so powerful again.  That federal hegemonic view has become an ideal for modern environmentalists and federal bureaucrats that ignore Local governments and simply corrupt State governments.  I submit this would have not been possible but for the chaos of the Civil War.

–       During 1913 to 1921 Woodrow Wilson was President and the 16th Amendment (Federal Income Tax) & 17th Amendment (direct election of Senators) were passed; Federal Reserve was founded; US Military and Civil Service were segregated; World War I; invasion of Mexico and Haiti; Russian Revolution; collapse of European Monarchies, and finally, the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) passed.  I suggest that the chaos of those years made the passage of this latter very bad CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT (not a law) possible and advocates took advantage of that chaos to gain passage.

–       The period 1929 to 1933 saw a Stock Market Crash, Bank failures, inflation, Depression and the beginnings of the Dust Bowl and the collapse of US agriculture and much of rural America.  One of the key platforms that elected Franklin D Roosevelt in 1933 was Repeal of the 18th Amendment (i.e. Prohibition) that then took place when he was elected.  Would Repeal of a 15 year-old Constitutional Amendment (a much higher bar than a “law”) have been possible without all the chaos of that period?  I think not.

–       The chaotic 1960’s and 70’s consisted of Free Love, open drug use, Vietnam, anti-War riots and the Watergate fiasco.  As President Nixon navigated the Vietnam withdrawal, Watergate and Resignation: and as President Ford sought election in his own right, there was an orgy of federal environmental/animal rights legislation and an explosion of bureaucracies and bureaucrats to “save” fill-in-the-blank and gain sympathetic votes.  This included the ESA, AWA, MMPA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Coastal Zone Mgt. Act, Estuarine Act, Noxious Weed Act, F&W Coordination Act, USFS Organic Act, Fisheries Conservation Act, Fur Seal Act, NEPA, NPS Act, RF Recreation Act, River and Harbor Act, Water Bank, Wilderness Act, Wild Horse & Burro Act to name but a few.  Add in new Bird Treaties entered into to expand US federal authority over more bird species like pelicans, certain hawks and owls, and cormorants; plus UN Conventions on everything from Culture and Heritage Declarations to International ES Trade and Polar Bears and all the federal offices, agencies and their costs exerting all these new authorities and one wonders how any private property, state environmental responsibility or especially rural communities still exists. I strongly believe that this environmental “awakening” would not look anything like it is were it not for the 60’s and two desperate Presidents in search of those big voter blocs in US cities to save their Administrations by giving unaffected voters imaginary benefits “out there”.

–       Finally we have the Chaos of today.  I speak here not of the chaotic sharpening of Party animosities; the turbulent and unexpected-by-many election results; the politicizing of sports; or the knock-down drag-out issues before Congress.  Let us focus on two things.

First, there is the proliferation of “Sanctuary Cities” and even “Sanctuary States”.  These cities and states vowing to give no cooperation to federal Immigration Laws and personnel are, almost without exception, the very vote-rich Cities and States Nixon and Ford looked to for support.  They are the hotbeds of the “more wolves”, “more smelt”, “more grizzly bears”, “more government land control authority” and “more rural-oriented federal regulation” coalitions.  Consider the irony here.  They are enamored of using their federal voting majorities to oppress rural Americans and rural communities while simultaneously justifying their defiance of federal laws they don’t happen to like such as immigration.

Second, consider the outrage in high-tax states like NY, CA & NJ against the potential loss of the federal tax write-off of State taxes as federal taxes are being “reformed”.  These high-tax states’ political representatives might be amenable to rural and low-tax states’ cooperation in return for cooperation in resolving the Endangered Species “problem” as tax reform, debt control and American businesses are front-and-center politically.

I suggest these two issues, among others, might be used to our advantage.

  1. Taking Advantage – We are entering into a contentious political period where incumbents, upstart challengers and extreme political philosophies will be vying for your vote with great intensity.  If we were to form alliances with like-minded groups and lobby for something simple, straightforward and understandable such as either of the two proposals I have mentioned; is it not possible that chaotic circumstances might invite in a Repeal or Amendment movement as an issue much like FDR’s Repeal of Prohibition emerged in the midst of complex turbulences and political opportunity?

Would not urban candidates and incumbents be able to explain their support for Repeal or Amendment of the ESA (and other such harmful laws?) necessitated by the corruption, economic and other impacts from human safety to ecosystem diversification losses it has spawned, as comparable to the way city dwellers have reacted to and view Immigration enforcement issues?   Could not a wide, national coalition support one of these straightforward proposals when they understand what the alternatives are in light of what we know today?  Would not most Americans support a change that empowers their state government’s authority and revenue, while reinvigorating Local government revenue and authority?  Wouldn’t such change enhance the power of State and Local governments to protect and enhance rural communities, their businesses, and their “domestic Tranquility” and “general Welfare” to quote the Preamble to the Constitution?  You might even learn some things about “your” representative lobby group as you seek to make changes that really matter.

Imagine, if all the hunting, trapping and fishing “Forever’s”, “Unlimited’ s”, “Associations” and “Foundations” allied themselves with the Cattlemen, the Timber industry, the Farm Bureau and Farm organizations, the many Dog organizations, Agriculture businesses and many rural society organizations from churches and community groups to local political organizations and Scout groups to advocate a simple message.  If they were to begin telling the media; the school teachers; their Local, State and Federal politicians; their Political Party; their friends and relatives; their Universities; and the entire world that they demand change.  Not that they request change or that something like it would be nice and we would be so grateful.

That change is simply that we in Rural America, like many of our urban counterparts, will no longer tolerate a federal law (the ESA) that harms our families and communities like several States and many large Cities perceive current immigration laws.  Unlike those States and Cities, we want to either Amend or Repeal the onerous Endangered Species Act.  Either we:

  1. Amend the ESA to provide for public input by requiring that any and all ESA activity must be done under a species specific 5-year Plan with the participation of the Counties directly affected and Approved by the Governor of the State; or
  2. Repeal the ESA and allow species-specific concerns for wild plants and animals to receive attention first by grass-roots advocates and then only when failing to resolve the problem through a progression of appeals and proposals through Universities, national organizations of all stripes, local governments, and State governments; as a last resort appeal to the US Congress with a specific proposal that, like the Amendment proposed above, can be developed with Local participation and Governor approval on a 5-year basis.

This is a truly American solution to a problem vexing a particular segment of society and would be good not only for rural communities but better for the wildlife since locally-supported wildlife communities are good for both people and wildlife in the long run.  Depending on which (1 or 2) tack is chosen, at an opportune time demand a State law that states the Governor must have the approval of 51% or 60% of the County governments in those Counties directly affected by any federal Endangered Species activity before approving such federal actions.

Who can oppose Local participation?  Who can oppose a voice for the rural communities faced with often onerous federal actions not necessitated by national defense?  What could be more simple and understandable to the general public or even politicians?  If not now, when?

The next three, and possibly seven, years are our best chance to correct the anti-rural government problems we face. The upcoming (in one year) mid-term elections will be important opportunities but the next Presidential election in three years is a golden opportunity complete with plenty of time for preparation.  Depending on 2020, the following 2-year and 4-year elections may well be the greatest and perhaps even last golden opportunity presenting itself to us to straighten out these problems. Problems everyone tells us are settled and unchangeable (where have we heard that before?) but that are suddenly open to change and potentially resolvable.

Just as the Founding Fathers emerged from Colonial status into the most powerful nation in the world; and corruption-fighters emerged successfully from the nightmare of Prohibition thanks in large measure to a chaotic period involving unrelated issues: we can take advantage of this chaos we find ourselves in to improve a wide array of government environmental abuses in order to make a better Nation for ourselves, our environment and our descendants.

Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you about what I believe is the paramount issue facing Rural America today.

We have time for a few questions.

Jim Beers

18 November 2017

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He is an advocate for a Rural American Renewal that benefits rather than ruins the culture, economy and surroundings of rural communities and families.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.net

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Bills to Modernize Endangered Species Act Advance Through Committee

Press Release from the House Committee on Natural Resources:

*Editor’s Note* – It is highly recommended that readers take the time to read the full text of each proposed bill. Links are provided. A synopsis, as is provided, often only relays what the author wants readers to read and not what a bill actually says and does, or does not do.

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4, 2017 –

Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed five bills to reform the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement:

The ESA is a landmark statute created with noble intent. It also includes fatal design flaws that inhibit greater success and handicap state-led, science-based recovery strategies. These flaws must be addressed and the law must be modernized. This slate of bills provides a framework for this discussion that we will build upon in coordination with the Senate, Trump administration, states and all interested stakeholders. I thank the bill sponsors for their work on these important pieces of legislation and look forward to our work ahead.”

H.R. 424 (Rep. Collin Peterson, D-MN), the “Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017,” reissues the final rules from the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to delist the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes region and maintains effective state wolf management in Wyoming. The bipartisan bill passed by a vote of 26-14.

H.R. 717 (Rep. Pete Olson, R-TX), the “Listing Reform Act,” allows for the consideration of economic factors in threatened listing decisions. It also provides flexibility to agencies’ prioritization in processing listing petitions, which relieves FWS from excessive litigation and allows more resources to be used for species conservation and recovery. It passed by a vote of 22-13.

H.R. 1274 (Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-WA), the “State, Tribal and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act,” fosters greater cooperation between the federal government and states by ensuring state, local and tribal scientific data is factored into ESA species listing decisions. The bill passed by a vote of 22-14.

H.R. 2603 (Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-TX), the “Saving America’s Endangered Species Act” or “SAVES Act,” removes duplicative permitting requirements for interstate movement of nonnative endangered species enhancing opportunities for conservation. The bipartisan “SAVES Act” passed by a vote of 23-16.

H.R. 3131 (Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-MI), the “Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act,” combats the recent proliferation of ESA-related litigation by capping attorneys’ fees to the same reasonable levels allowed for other types of citizen lawsuits against the government. It passed by a vote of 22-16.

Click here to view full markup action.

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Comments on ESA Political Posturing – Aug. 2017

By James Beers:

The following proposals in Congress to “fix” the ESA deserve exposure to sunlight and a few comments as to what they are up to beyond posturing for campaign photos: the answer being, not much.  Jim Beers

  1. •H.R. 424(Rep. Collin Peterson), To direct the Secretary of the Interior to reissue final rules relating to listing of the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and for other purposes. “Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017

Numbers of gray wolves are exploding in most areas where they exist or have been introduced. This has had a severe impact on local livestock, as well as large grazing wildlife such as moose, elk, deer, etc. Ranchers and state wildlife managers have found themselves at odds with environmentalist wolf advocates who urge–and often go to court for–continued protections on what are thriving, and ecologically and economically significant predator populations. The hearing memo summarizes the issue this way:

Gray wolves were listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1974. Existing wolves present in the Western Great Lakes Region were protected, and the federal government introduced the species canis lupus irremotus to the West by removing wolves from Canada and releasing them in central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in 1994 and 1995. States, local citizens, livestock groups, and sportsmen opposed the reintroduction effort. The reintroduced wolf population in the West recovered and expanded more quickly than anticipated. As a result, in September 2001, the states and tribes began working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to formulate plans that would effectively transition management responsibility to the
states upon delisting.

FWS deemed the Idaho and Montana wolf management plans adequate, but did not approve the Wyoming plan. Gray wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List on January 14, 2009. As part of their management plans, Idaho and Montana conducted tightly controlled wolf hunts beginning in the autumn of 2009. Sales of wolf hunt tags fund management activities, and hunts are conducted in a similar fashion to those of large ungulates and other wild animals under state management.

Litigious environmental groups challenged the FWS decision to delist the wolves in Idaho, Montana, and the Western Great Lakes, arguing that the rule had been politically motivated and did not comply with ESA. The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana held that the rule was a “political solution that does not comply with ESA” and that delisting of a species which was still endangered in a portion of its region (Wyoming) was not appropriate. The delisting of the wolves was halted in all states until the Wyoming plan was acceptable. See full hearing memo here.

Comments:

–       It says a great deal about the sad state of national wildlife affairs when, as a positive justification for more federal legislation, we accept as a positive accomplishment thriving, and ecologically and economically significant predator populations”.  Predators are like armies; they kill and disrupt things in accord with their controls. Do we really think “thriving” predator populations are good when they kill and wreak all manner of havoc when uncontrolled?  When, and if, we choose to maintain, introduce and protect large predators; it should be done primarily for the common good of society and not for the “ecology” which is a controversial judgment at best or to have them “thrive” with no qualifier that recognizes where they do not belong and densities and distributions to be tolerated in other areas with the consent of those communities forced to host them.

–       It is specious to say, reintroduced wolf population in the West recovered and expanded more quickly than anticipated”.  The politicians should tell the truth and drop “anticipated” to be replaced with “we were told”.  The very same bureaucrats that downplayed the potential of wolves with full protection and unlimited food sources (like your pet dog wolves are omnivorous) are the same bureaucracy you want to tweak and expect to get a different result when the past 3 decades reveal how they operate and the increasing havoc they are wreaking.

–       It is a scam of enormous proportions to write and speak that, working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to formulate plans that would effectively transition management responsibility to the states upon delisting” is anything other than the federal government and the wolf NGO’s simply telling the states where and how many wolves they must maintain and then the state pays the bill and only uses federally approved methods based on counts (never accurate and always grist for lawsuits in the “right” court before the “right” judge) that will allow the bureaucrats and their “partners” to takeback “control” whenever politically possible.  This is one case where the piper doesn’t pay the bill: those told how and when to dance, pay the bill!  Ask yourself where does the money come from for lawsuits, counting, investigating, vehicles, fuel, salaries, retirement, insurance, clerks, biologists, wardens, contractors, compensation, “administration”, etc. for all this?  It diverts large portions of the License fees, Excise Taxes and other revenue from state functions for all to dance to a federal piper.  When they tell you that they sold a lot of wolf licenses, keep in mind that wolves are smart and quickly adapt.  Shooting, trapping and other “sporting” methods of take are quickly learned and after a year or two of only a few killed, the initial surge of “hunters” buying a wolf tag (that at best will never begin to cover the cost of “managing” these federally sanctified critters) for only a few wolves will wane and then the surge of happiness will turn into a hangover as everyone realizes that this may go on “forever” and everything else in the state responsibilities toolbox is going to suffer, and suffer bigtime.

  1. •H.R. 717(Rep. Pete Olson), To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require review of the economic cost of adding a species to the list of endangered species or threatened species, and for other purposes. “Listing Reform Act

One of the starkest examples of devastating economic impact by an ESA listing is that of the spotted owl, which effectively decimated the timber industry of the American North Pacific. The Listing Reform Act is intended to prevent such sweeping economic destruction. It is summarized:

H.R. 717, the “Listing Reform Act” would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to consider economic impacts in listing decisions for threatened species, and allow preclusion of the listing if the likelihood of significant, cumulative economic effects would result from the listing, or from the resulting designation of critical habitat. See full hearing memo here.

Comments:

–       I love the way these politicians can casually say, One of the starkest examples of devastating economic impact by an ESA listing is that of the spotted owl, which effectively decimated the timber industry of the American North Pacific” (the Aleutians are treeless could the staffer mean Northwest?) and then blithely go on talking about the law that caused that devastation to thousands of families and the economy, and expanded the bureaucracy power created by that law as if they were a Mayor explaining why revenue-generation-only speed traps are really good and a tweak or two here and there and everyone will benefit and be happy one day.  What about the pols that passed such a law that did this?  What about the increasingly corrupt bureaucrats that then perpetrated this atrocity with their “rules”, “regulations”, “policies” and collusion with radical groups for a myriad of hidden agendas – all under the color of a LAW every bit as bad as Prohibition?  Who has ever been held responsible for any of this?  Physician, heal thyself!

–       Are you kidding me?  “Consider economic impacts”?  These are the same federal bureaucracies that ignored wolves as vectors disease and infections; that denied any impacts on big game; that turned over federal livestock compensation for wolf predation to the Defenders of Wildlife; that lied about human dangers; that has minimized human attack reports; that stole millions from state Excise taxes to trap wolves in Canada after Congress had denied authorization and funding; that imported the wolves without required paperwork (something seriously punished on select civilians); that released the wolves into the Upper Rockies again without Congressional authorization; and that to this day works with radical environmental groups to further subdue and conquer rural America for their purposes.  None of these awful and illegal oppressions were ever punished. Indeed they (the bureaucrats) rewarded themselves greatly from government funding for their good job.  That said, who really believes that something as “airy-fairy” as “economic impacts” requires anything but lies?  There is no accountability for the aforementioned REAL egregious actions.  How would you ever hold anyone accountable for economic impacts that turned out to have missed XY&Z?  Beam me up Scotty!

  1. •H.R. 1274(Rep. Dan Newhouse), To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require making available to States affected by determinations that species are endangered species or threatened species all data that is the basis of such determinations, and for other purposes. “State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act

Despite the provision within the ESA requiring the federal government to cooperate with states and tribes to the greatest extent possible, history has shown that this does not always happen, and states and localities are often left out of listings and related regulatory processes. The background of this issue is summarized this way:

States have testified that the ESA as currently implemented, does not properly honor their ability to participate to the maximum extent practicable in federal ESA listing decisions. States also have stated that they are not made privy to factors utilized by the federal government in listing decisions that impact lands, communities, and species within their borders.

States are the species managers prior to a listing decision by the federal government and will become the managers of the species after a delisting decision by the federal government. States possess extensive, on-the-ground experience and expertise in science-based wildlife management principles, generation of applicable data, and the application of public policy in managing wildlife as a public asset.

In spite of the expertise and willingness of State, local, and tribal governments to participate in the ESA process, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce are not required to disclose scientific information or the basis they used in making listing or critical habitat decisions to the states or to utilize scientific data generated by the states, even though states often have actual data that the federal agencies do not. See full hearing memo here.

Comments:

–       All of this nonsense, Despite the provision within the ESA requiring the federal government to cooperate with states and tribes to the greatest extent possible, history has shown that this does not always happen, and states and localities are often left out of listings and related regulatory processes” and  States have testified that the ESA as currently implemented, does not properly honor their ability to participate to the maximum extent practicable in federal ESA listing decisions. States also have stated that they are not made privy to factors utilized by the federal government in listing decisions that impact lands, communities, and species within their border” is merely rich irony.  These same politicians that pass and condone a law that gives a federal bureaucracy (USFWS) total authority over calling wolves whatever works for their hidden agendas and complete jurisdiction over Where and How Many will be placed and maintained and who (ranchers, hunters, dog owners, elderly, children, etc.) will have to put up with what Or Else; these same guys now whine that there is little “participation” and “cooperation” and “transparency” with States?  Am I mistaken, but hasn’t it been made crystal clear that they (USFWS) have been and will continue to be (as long as USFWS staff and managers sympathetic to radical i.e. anti-grazing/private property/animal ownership/hunting/trapping/animal control /animal management/logging/irrigation/dams/roads/gun, etc. agendas and organizations remain in place) in league with and colluding with organizations and agendas that are anathema to States Rights, and a Rural America composed of free men with families and rights?  Mouthing “cooperation” and “transparency” for someone to whom you have given absolute power is like Russia “welcoming” Poland into the USSR after WWII and then years later wondering why there hasn’t been any “cooperation” or “transparency”.

–       Ditto for, In spite of the expertise and willingness of State, local, and tribal governments to participate in the ESA process, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce are not required to disclose scientific information or the basis they used in making listing or critical habitat decisions to the states or to utilize scientific data generated by the states, even though states often have actual data that the federal agencies do not.”  See previous comment.

  1. •H.R. 2603(Rep. Louie Gohmert), To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to provide that nonnative species in the United States shall not be treated as endangered species or threatened species for purposes of that Act. “Saving America’s Endangered Species Act” or “SAVES Act

This bill offers protections to foreign species by easing and clarifying regulatory processes for captive breeding programs. Designed to support restoration programs for international species jeopardized by poaching, or other factors outside the purview of United States law, this bill would offer protections to endangered and threatened species without necessitating an ESA listing. The hearing memo summarizes the issue this way:

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 includes protections for nonnative endangered species in an effort to encourage foreign nations to protect jeopardized species and their habitats abroad. Nonnative endangered species are regulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the Endangered Species Act through the captive bred wildlife (CBW) program.

Legal captive breeding of nonnative endangered species is a conservation measure that can create healthy populations of animals to augment recovery of wild populations, decrease illegal wildlife trafficking, and increase educational opportunities relating to the species. While no federal permit is required to own listed nonnative species, those wishing to sell or buy nonnative endangered species across state lines, including zoos and private breeders, must obtain a CBW permit from FWS.

H.R. 2603 would effectively eliminate the duplicative requirement for CBW permits for nonnative endangered species in the United States and held in captivity. Ease of transfer across state lines would enhance conservation and welfare of the species by allowing owners, breeders, and conservators of the species to ensure robust, and genetically diverse populations continue to exist in the United States. See the full hearing memo here:

Comment:

–       While it is admirable and surprising to see a proposed ESA Amendment to, effectively eliminate the duplicative requirement for CBW permits for nonnative endangered species in the United States and held in captivity. Ease of transfer across state lines would enhance conservation and welfare of the species”; some would say it is a symbolic token adjustment to the federal authority to totally regulate American Exotic Animal Owners.  Zoos and Aquariums would especially benefit from this, and the fact that the former Director of USFWS, who went out the door when President Trump came into office and is now the Executive Director or some such official with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is an example of the close relationship between lobby groups and USFWS top bureaucrats.  The federal oversight interference with and disruption of Privately-owned Exotic wildlife that is a foreign ESA Listed Species lies not so much with the transfers across state lines but with the totality of the management of privately owned herds that need routine culling and the federal interference with hunts, selling meat or hides or mounts to 1.) Keep herd sizes compatible with available forage, 2.) Contribute to local economies and 3.) Provide owners with the wherewithal to maintain the species.  The standards and treatment of zoos and aquariums are too often but a pale shadow of the treatment by bureaucrats of what private Listed Exotic Animal Owners endure.  It is worth noting that this is a proposal of a Texas Congressman and Texas had more such Exotic Wildlife and Exotic Wildlife Owners than any other State the last time I looked.

  1. •H.R. 3131(Rep. Bill Huizenga), To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to conform citizen suits under that Act with other existing law, and for other purposes. “Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act.

Environmentalist groups, some with radical agendas, have taken advantage of the Equal Access to Justice Act to sue the federal government for ‘failing’ to properly protect species listed under the ESA. In so doing, the American taxpayer has paid out billions of dollars in huge settlements, which more often than not are used by such special interests to hire staff and bring on more lawyers to expand efforts to sue involved federal agencies. Known as ‘Sue & Settle,’ this long-standing practice has not just enriched radical special interests with public monies, but has given environmentalists an edge in using the ESA to halt economic activities, such as ranching, mining, logging, fishing, etc. This is made possible in large part due to the fact that there is no cap on what special interest groups which win settlements can claim for attorney’s costs. The issue is summarized this way.

Special interest attorneys representing environmental groups argue that their expertise is “specialized” to justify substantial, uncapped fees. Some special interest attorneys have collected fees as high as $750 taxpayer dollars per hour. According to records from the Department of Justice, at least two such attorneys have garnered more than $2 million in attorneys’ fees by filing ESA suits.

The taxpayer-funded Judgment Fund serves as the source for ESA-related attorneys’ fees payments. H.R. 3131 would require ESA litigants to abide by the same rules as others bringing suit against the federal government, requiring plaintiffs to prevail in order to collect attorneys’ fees, as well as impose the $125 fee cap set by EAJA. Capable environmental attorneys are no longer rare or specialized to the point where uncapped attorneys’ fees are justified. While this legislation does not restrict aggrieved parties’ ability to seek redress in court, it removes an incentive for litigious plaintiffs to request large fee awards and safeguards taxpayer dollars against abusive litigation tactics.

I leave this one to the lawyers in the crowd.  Such legislation, written by lawyers, proposed by lawyers, lobbied for by lawyers and described by lawyers are truthfully above my pay grade.  This complexity and long-standing possession of this arena of governance is one of the big reasons no one stands up to things anymore since we are all such purposely – uneducated ignoramuses about these matters.  I suppose this is why Will Rogers once observed that, “The minute you read something you can’t understand, you can almost be sure it was drawn up by a lawyer.”

Jim Beers

4 August 2017

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Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.net

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Bishop Statement on Gray Wolf Court Ruling

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 2, 2017 –

Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement on the Federal appeals court ruling concerning protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

“When science-based recovery criteria are met and environmental litigants can still drag the federal government through a decade of costly litigation before the delisting is final, we have a problem. Republicans and Democrats from impacted states have worked hard to resolve this conflict and ensure wolf populations are healthy and thriving but all they’ve received in return is prolonged economic harm and regulatory uncertainty. When ESA decisions are taken out of the hands of expert biologists and given to judges and radical ideologues, this is what happens.

“Congress must take action to protect communities from this broken law. Until we do, Americans’ tax dollars will continue padding the pockets of wealthy environmental trial lawyers, rather than investing in actual species recovery.”

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RMEF: Silver Linings in Great Lakes Wolf Ruling

*Editor’s Note* – Along with the earlier posting this morning, there is little need to get excited or even optimistic about anyone’s “ability” going forward to “manage” wolves or that states will do anything differently than the Federal Government is doing now. What changes is the financial responsibility is moved from the Feds to the states. Nothing else will change as has been proven in states where wolves are no longer protected under the Endangered Species Act. If you are hoping and thinking that removal of protection of wolves from the Federal Government to the State Governments is going to result in fewer “CONTROLLED” wolves and the state’s ability to manage populations of game animals for surplus harvest, as has been the modus operandi for decades under the North American Model of Wildlife Management will soon take over, you are seriously mistaken.

For what it is worth – meaning that this is but one appeals court decision and several more can make a mockery out of the fake judicial system and change these decisions with the stroke of a pen – where once, many years ago, I argued that environmentalists and the courts could not claim the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t have authority to delist a Distinct Population Segment while, at the same time, approving of the act to list a Distinct Population Segment of any species. My argument fell on deaf ears and lo and behold one appeals court sees it the correct way.

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—Unlike its decision earlier in 2017 upholding efforts to delist wolves in Wyoming, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia chose not to do the same in the Western Great Lakes states.

“We are disappointed with this latest ruling, but the court wholeheartedly rejected a number of claims by environmental groups regarding wolves and wolf management,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “The court undid a number of roadblocks thus providing a path forward.”

Positive points from the decision:

  • Rejected an environmental group argument that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) did not use the best available science
  • The Endangered Species Act allows the FWS to delist a distinct wolf population segment
  • Supported FWS’s reliance on state management of wolves and other wildlife in the Western Great Lakes states
  • Upheld the FWS’s determination that disease and human mortality do not pose a significant threat to the wolf population
  • There is no permanent barrier to delisting wolves

“This latest ruling came six years after the FWS tried for a third time to delist wolves in the Great Lakes. We call on Congress to approve and pass a legislative fix to halt this non-stop litigation that frustrates successful wildlife management,” said Allen. “These environmental groups continue to use the wolf as a fundraising tool while overlooking and ignoring each state’s approved wildlife management plans.”

As of 2015-16, there is an estimated minimum population of 3,762 wolves in the Great Lakes states. Minnesota’s wolf population is approximately one and a half times above objective. Michigan’s wolf population is more than 200 percent above its state plan and Wisconsin’s wolf population is more than 250 percent above objective.

RMEF recognizes that predators have a proper place on the landscape but that they need to be managed just as elk, deer and other wildlife are managed in accordance with the North American Wildlife Conservation Model.

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Court Sides with Sportsmen on Key Issue, but Leaves Wolves Protected for Now

Press Release from the Sportsmen’s Alliance:

On Tuesday, Aug. 1, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued its ruling in the Western Great Lakes wolf lawsuit appeal. The ruling is a short-term setback, but very likely a win for sportsmen in the long run.

For the immediate future, the Appellate Court’s decision leaves Endangered Species Act listing in place, upholding the lower court’s 2014 ruling that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) erred in delisting wolves in 2011. Very importantly, however, the court laid out a road map for FWS to delist the Western Great Lakes wolves on remand and dismantled many of the dangerous and unsupported holdings in the lower court decision.

Additionally, the appellate court ruled in favor of sportsmen on the most important legal issue in the case regarding the distinct population segment (DPS) definition in the Endangered Species Act and the Fish and Wildlife Service’s DPS Policy. The appellate court sided with the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and our partners that the FWS has the ability to list and, as in this case, delist a species at the distinct population segment level:

“The central dispute in this case is whether the Endangered Species Act permits the Service to carve out of an already-listed species a “distinct population segment” for the purpose of delisting that segment and withdrawing it from the Act’s aegis. We hold that the Act permits such a designation, but only when the Service first makes the proper findings.” (Op. at 15-16).

This ruling means that, if the Fish and Wildlife Service takes the right steps, they are able to delist a recovered species in some places (a distinct population) without having to delist it everywhere. This flexibility will make the ESA more efficient and possibly subject to fewer legal challenges. HSUS and their partners had argued that FWS could never delist a smaller portion of a species unless the entire species had fully recovered and could be removed from the Endangered Species Act protections. HSUS has now lost that point.

“The court’s ruling that regional delisting is legally possible is a victory for sound scientific wildlife management and further upholds DPS policy of the Endangered Species Act as an important tool for conservation moving forward,” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “While we clearly would have preferred that wolves be returned to state management today, this ruling provides a path forward for the Fish and Wildlife Service on how to successfully delist wolves once and for all.

“Folks in the animal-rights community would like believe that the Endangered Species Act is a one-way ratchet. In their world, you can only put species on to the Endangered Species List based upon a distinct population segment. However, we know that this is not how the ESA is written,” continued Heusinkveld. “This distorted view of the DPS policy is simply emblematic of their view of the ESA as a whole. They view this as a means to enshrine federal protections in perpetuity, as opposed to a tool to help those in need recover and be returned to state management.”

Additionally, the appellate court dismantled many of the main arguments provided by the HSUS-led coalition and holdings of the unfavorable lower court opinion:

  • The court upheld FWS’s interpretation that the ESA’s definition of “range” refers to “current range” at the time of the listing or delisting decision that is the subject of the case, not “historic range,” as HSUS argued. HSUS’ interpretation would mean that populations may never be delisted if they could not rebound throughout their historic range. However, the court said FWS must consider large losses in historical range in evaluating the continuing viability of the species in its current range. On remand, FWS must decide the “baseline” date from which historical range loss is measured. One likely date could be 1973 – the year Congress enacted the ESA.
  • HSUS argued that FWS failed to explain why the wolf population’s combined mortality from humans and disease is not a continuing threat to the species’ existence. The court found that FWS had thoroughly examined these factors, and that the wolf population had continued to grow despite any disease or human-caused mortality.
  • HSUS attempted to characterize Minnesota as an “unregulated killing zone.” While the lower court decision had agreed, the Circuit Court disagreed and found that Minnesota’s depredation plan did not amount to an “unregulated killing zone,” as it was indeed regulated and unlikely to threaten wolves’ survival.
  • HSUS argued the lack of state regulatory plans to monitor and protect the Western Great Lake wolves outside of their core recovery areas in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan did not support FWS’s decision to delist those wolves. The court found that the lack of separate state plans in six nearby states was not a concern because wolves are virtually non-existent in those states, and those animals that do occasionally appear there are protected by other measures or they do not significantly contribute to the WGL population.
  • HSUS challenged the 2011 rule on genetics issues concerning whether there are one or two wolf species. The court rejected the HSUS argument that there were two separate species of wolves, and thereby additional protections were warranted.
  • HSUS argued that FWS had inappropriately responded to political pressure from Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D, Minnesota) in adopting its wolf-delisting order. The court rejected that argument, stating that HSUS could point to no science “ignored, misused, or manipulated” or to any material change in FWS’ position in response to a letter from Sen. Klobuchar. In particular, the court cites that FWS had acted favorably in response to several delisting petitions (including the Sportsmen’s Alliance petition) before Sen. Klobuchar’s letter.

How We Got Here:

The case stems from a late 2014 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell that ruled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had to return wolves found in the western Great Lakes area to the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act. At the crux of the case was the delisting of a “distinct population segment” of wolves from the Endangered Species Act.

The lawsuit brought by Humane Society of the United States; Born Free, USA; Help Our Wolves Live; and Friends of Animals and Their Environment argued that despite a healthy population of wolves that had surpassed all recovery goals in the western Great Lakes region, since wolf populations haven’t recovered in all 50 states, the animals must remain under federal protection as an endangered species even where they have recovered.

“This 2014 ruling clearly ignored years of Fish and Wildlife Service policy, court rulings and plain common sense,” said Heusinkveld. “The idea that wolves can never be deemed ‘recovered’ in the Great Lakes states until they have recovered across the entire U.S. is a complete fantasy.”

Joining the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation in this case, was the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, the National Rifle Association, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Wisconsin Bowhunters Association, Upper Peninsula Bear Houndsmen Association and Michigan Hunting Dog Federation.

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Members Discuss Bill to Bring Much Needed Reforms to the Endangered Species Act

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 19, 2017 –

Today, the Full Committee held a legislative hearing on five bills, most of which have advanced with bipartisan support, to reform and improve the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The bills work to empower states, ensure data transparency, improve listing and delisting processes, and discourage costly litigation that diverts critical resources away from species recovery.

It is my hope that, in coordination with our colleagues in the Senate and this Administration, we can lay the foundation for ESA reform that creates better outcomes for both species and communities,” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) said. “We can improve ESA if we build consensus to address existing failures and pursue targeted, common sense reforms.”

Signed into law in 1973, over 1,564 species have been listed under the ESA, but only 23 recovered species have been delisted, amounting to a one percent success rate.

H.R. 1274 (Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-WA), the “State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency Act,” fosters greater federal and state cooperation and data transparency in species designations. It also ensures on-the-ground data is factored into listing decisions.

These agencies too often overlook local conservation plans that are developed to ensure the protection of native species and habitat. These local efforts should not be disregarded,” Newhouse stated. “By providing states, tribes, and localities the data used to promulgate these proposed listings, an opportunity arises for local stakeholders to get involved and have their voices heard.”

H.R. 424 (Rep. Collin Peterson, D-MN), the bipartisan “Gray Wolf State Management Act,” delists gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes and returns them to State management. The bill also maintains state management of Wyoming’s wolves and relieves both regions of the possibility of further litigation.

A single judge, sitting in Washington D.C., that I would say had no clue about what’s going on in our part of the world, created a mess by somehow deciding that the wolf had not reestablished themselves in the entire range,” Peterson said. “This was all done in spite of scientific evidence by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that gray wolf populations recovered and thrived.

H.R. 717 (Rep. Pete Olson, R-TX), the “Listing Reform Act,” allows for the consideration of economic factors in listing decisions for threatened species and also provides more agency flexibility in the petition process to discourage excessive ESA litigation.

We need to protect our endangered species, but we need to do it in a smart way. Arbitrary deadlines do not help. Neither do sweeping listings that threaten the communities and landowners who have been on that land since before the time states like mine were created.” Olson stated. “We can update the law without endangering our legacy for the next generation.”

“The ESA is a powerful law that can be inflexible and costly, with far-reaching effects on local economies,” Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar said.

H.R. 2603 (Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-TX), the bipartisan “Saving America’s Endangered Species Act” or “SAVES Act,” removes duplicative permitting requirements for nonnative endangered species.

The inclusion of non-native species is out dated, overly burdensome, and in fact, works against the very intent of the ESA. Instead of promoting conservation of these international species, the redundant regulation hampers significant non-governmental resources in our country genuinely seeking to enhance conservation of non-native endangered species through captive breeding programs,” Vice Chairman Gohmert said. “Time and time again, in the modern world, we see well-intentioned legislation pit the federal government against the very private citizens who have a vested interest in the preservation of endangered species.”

H.R. 3131 (Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-MI), the “Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act,” caps attorneys’ fees in ESA cases and ensures that the fees are only awarded to prevailing parties. This measure would bring lawsuits under ESA in line with other types of citizen lawsuits against the government.

For too long litigating attorneys representing non-governmental entities have taken advantage of the Endangered Species Act raking in millions of dollars of taxpayer funded money. In many cases, attorney billing rates have climbed as high as 400, 500 even 750 dollars an hour with hardworking American taxpayers left footing the bill,” Rep. Huizenga stated. “These exorbitant payouts funded by the American taxpayer only impede efforts to achieve the common goal of protecting species and habitats.”

Click here to view full witness testimony.

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LESSONS FROM A COMATOSE CHILD

By James Beers

The following WSJ article is an excellent description of how we have all allowed the British and our (EU & UN too) government’s declining value on human life to increasingly distort our culture and ultimately destroy all of our (once) “unalienable” rights.  Like the old saw about which was first, the chicken or the egg; unfettered government invariably assumes and then believes that we are “its” creation, rather than the other way around.

As you read the article, consider the parallels between British Health Care (BHC), the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA.

–       All three were made into law to save something: BHC to save human lives; the ESA to “save” species; and NEPA to “save” the environment.

All three evolved into government programs that were soon unimaginable to those that supported passage:

–       A BHC that would seize parental authority and jurisdiction over their own children and then mandate the child’s death despite vigorous parental objections?

–       A BHC integrated with Assisted Suicide advocates and forcible terminations of select adult’s lives?

–       An ESA that would seize state and local jurisdictions and authorities and force deadly and destructive animals like wolves and grizzly bears on rural Americans despite their loud and vociferous objections?

–       An ESA that purportedly empowered federal bureaucrats to take “private property” of all sorts “without compensation” while enabling quickening expansion of federal landholdings as unmanaged enclaves of federal authority and jurisdictions at the expense of diminished state and local political influence and power?

–       A NEPA that has the singular goal of forbidding any and all natural resource (coal, drilling, logging, lead mining and smelting, grazing, hunting, fishing, etc.) management, extraction or use while enabling federal takeover of more and more of American life and private property?

–       A NEPA that actually became so arrogant as to encourage bureaucrats to imagine their own fantasy authority and jurisdiction over “all waters of the United States” that by including these water’s watersheds means all of the land mass of

The United States?

In summary, government power and ability to abuse “the governed” is ever present and must be watched and limited constantly.  It is always a primary hidden agenda behind every purported “good purpose” like “saving” human lives or wild species or the environment.

Government is like a tree in a suburban yard.  When the tree, like any government, goes unpruned and untended for too long:

–       It shades out the garden it was intended to protect from the wind.

–       It occupies the air space the kids used to play ball.

–       It kills the grass.

–       It erupts all over the ground with roots that make uses impossible.

–       It sends roots into the basement causing cracks and leaks.

–       It drops leaves into gutters that must be cleaned at great expense and risk.

–       It deposits branches in the yard and on the roof that you must spend time and money to clean up.

–       It eventually falls on the house in a windstorm killing the owners in their beds and then leaving a barren lot with roots everywhere, a wrecked home, and a stump.

Don’t let anyone tell you can’t or shouldn’t complain about government.  That is like saying anyone that does, hates trees and wants to live on a barren lot.  That is not the choice.  The choice is a sensible tree species, pruned constantly and removed when it begins becoming destructive before it creates an eventual disaster as your life on your lot becomes poorer and poorer and you eventually die in your sleep from a falling tree – just like BHS, the ESA and NEPA need either severe pruning (as a result of being ignored) or removal.

I vote for removal.

Jim Beers

18 July 2017

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.net

Link to article 

Note: Reading the article at the Wall Street Journal website requires a subscription.

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Tough Answer to a Tough Question

by James Beers

As I continue boring through a stack of requests after a recent week in Montana, four questions from four readers are essentially the same question.  I have given much thought to an answer but I am afraid that there is no truthful answer other than the one that will disappoint the fine folks that ask the question and probably tick off many that read the answer.  Doing this to colleagues that have done and do so much is hard to do because it may either discourage them or cause them to simply give up and take up crossword puzzles in some 17th floor, urban condominium.  Nonetheless, here is the question and my answer.

Question: “What can we do to make USFWS ‘return wolf management’ to our state as happened recently in Wyoming?”

My Answer:

Dear Reader,

“Returning wolf management” to your state is the sort of thing that the saying, “Be careful what you wish for because it may come true” was referring to when first spoken.

I recently spoke with two Wyoming ranchers attending the Western Governor’s Conference in Whitefish, Montana about this very point and each was adamant that unless and until the federal authority to “List” wolves (and grizzly bears as well) under the ESA is repealed, just like Prohibition or the Dred Scott Decision by the Supreme Court, nothing will change in the long run.  Each rancher was fully aware that this “return of management” was simply a band aid on a serious wound to American liberties.  They fully expected that if “we” (i.e. the Trump Administration and a yet-to-emerge Congressional coalition of vertebrate politicians) don’t get rid of that federal authority, the next age class of progressive/get-along politicians will simply whisk aside all this “management” (i.e. say-so by State governments and the residents of that state about federal wildlife mandates) by state governments and take right off again from where they were on 7 November 2016, the eve of the recent Presidential election.

Allow me to take a stab about why I agree this is so.

  1. The majority of USFWS, NPS, BLM and USFS employees from the newest to the oldest will fight any attempt to repeal superior federal wildlife authority nationwide for any “species” (or “sub sp.”, or “race” or “population” or “segment???”) they believe they have and should have total authority over all wildlife in every way.  This attitude has been fostered by federal laws of the past 45 years that reinforced their belief that they are on a quasi-religious (taxpayer funded) mission to dictate the presence of wildlife, the abundance of wildlife and ALL aspects of the human/wildlife interface nationally and internationally.  They believe that the ESA, EPA, and an alphabet-soup hodgepodge of federal laws and precedents not only grant them this responsibility but also that the opinions of the elites (much like climate change/warming/cooling) and “experts” confirms their legitimacy to rule others through absolute wildlife authority and jurisdiction.

 

  1. The radical Non-Government Organizations from the NWF and DU to the extremists like DoW, NRDC, CBD, PETA, AWI, etc. are, and will remain, supported by rich elites as these NGO’s maintain all their young volunteers, their lawyers and their “connections” (i.e. money) with the federal agencies, federal politicians, Native American governments, key state politicians, certain judges in certain courts, University staffs, and foreign connections with their mirror images in the UN and EU bureaucracies.  They are lying low as I write to fight Trump clandestinely but they will rise quickly like the Phoenix when conditions are again favorable.

 

  1. Congress, no matter how many drain tiles (to “Drain the Swamp”) President Trump and his allies lay in Washington will steadily be “re-watered” by new and drainage-surviving politicians and bureaucrats.  Many cities like Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami et al, and many states like California, Oregon, Washington, New Jersey, Illinois and Minnesota will still send an army of progressive, urban-oriented federal politicians into Washington, DC to eradicate any rural accommodations that Trump achieves while reaffirming all of the environmental/animal rights extremism of the past four decades since they only affect those bumpkins “out there” and not (they think) the smart and rich elites living in the cities that believe they should run the country and the world.

 

  1. State wildlife agencies, with but very few exceptions, have proven in the past 20 years (from their failure to request or demand the replacement of the $45 to 60 Million documented as stolen by USFWS bureaucrats from State PR funds to release Canadian wolves into Yellowstone under President Clinton, to their shameful acquiescence in cooperating with all those mentioned in 1 through 3 above in covering up wolf incidents and damages, lying about the numbers and declines of big game due to wolves, failing to pay compensation for the majority of wolf complaints, and lying about diseases spread by wolves and the documented history of living with wolves since the time of Plato to the settlement of North America and in Asia/Europe today) that they cannot stand up to federal demands or represent their residents.  As a consequence of decades under their desks hoping for eventual federal employment, they have become wolf and grizzly lap dogs to federal bureaucrats, from taking orders from progressive  politicians and activists that they believe (naively) will supplant hunting and fishing  financing and spark a Brave New World of federal tax funding in a make-believe world run by the folks mentioned in 1 through 3 above.

I hear you wondering what all this has to do with “returning management” to the States?  Isn’t “returning management to the States the answer in the “real” political world of the “possible”?

“Actually” (to quote my 11 year-old grandson) the folks in 1 through 4 are prepared to and will do whatever it takes to keep and restore all federal power and the status quo.  As long as the ESA is the source of that power, they have all the advantages (law, regulation, court precedents, media, University “experts” and schoolteachers) on their side.

Consider, what “returning” Management – not Authority or Jurisdiction – means.  It means the federal bureaucrats and the courts will allow the states to maintain X number of wolves throughout each state.  “Management” is simply the steps necessary to accomplish pre-determined ends.  “Authority” and “Jurisdiction” are the final word in determining the ends that are a federal mandate in this case.  State “management” is simply the privilege to pay for what the folks in 1 through 4 say is the way things will be.  Think of Poland conquered by the Soviets in 1945 and then told that henceforth they are the Soviet Republic of Poland and henceforth they will do and pay for what the Politburo dictates.  Who would consider that a victory worth pursuing?

Poland didn’t celebrate until June of 1989 when Soviet tyranny was voted out in a free election and the Polish Republic was founded.  To this date, Poland has had to constantly fend off both Russian bullying and EU immigration policies that threaten Poland’s very identity.  If there was a lingering key to Soviet or Russian reclamation of  authority or jurisdiction over Poland; who doubts that the Polish Republic  would exist today?  It is exactly the same thing with this “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” ESA AUTHORITY to “save the world’s wildlife” and rural America.  As long as this ESA authority exists, wolf or grizzly to name but two, future federal politicians, judges and bureaucrats can reactivate it like Dr. Frankenstein in his lab on a stormy night.

How is this so?  Consider:

–       Two months ago I asked a lady USFWS employee on the phone if the recent “return of wolf management to the State of Wyoming” meant that “they could kill all the wolves in Wyoming?”  Since I had identified myself as a Minnesotan, I guess she was thinking of me as some sort of fellow traveler and/or lover of “the ecosystem”.  Her lowered voice told me to talk to my friends and write letters to USFWS about our “concerns” and they will try to do something when they can.

–       All of the “Return” agreements mention a base number of wolves, BUT you can’t count wolves so how does that work?  The State agency may have counts or trends or estimates or WAG’s but what happens when Dr. Love the predator “expert” for Wolf/Grizzly International appears before Senator Snodgrass’ Committee on the Environment and refutes that above “data” and pontificates on “alpha males”, pup and cub mortality, climate change, ticks, disease, poaching and a certain questionable attitude by certain state employees about the value of predators?  Who could leave “management” in the hands of such barbarians?

–       State agencies will have to begin (due to lawsuit fears) picking up the tab (from where?) for more:

  1. Babysitting, trapping and transplanting of wolves.
  2. Compensation for damages by wolves.
  3. Investigations of wolf carcasses, poaching, etc.
  4. Explaining wolf impacts on game animals.
  5. Investigating and follow-up on human attacks.
  6. Resolving and preventing dog deaths.
  7. Researching Disease, Infections and Parasite threats from wolves.
  8. Answering lawsuits and other challenges to any “management”.
  9. More diversion of license money and Excise Taxes for training, meetings, lawyers, administrative support, vehicles, fuel, office space, storage, retirement costs, health insurance, planning, etc. for wolves.

–       Speaking of license money, there is a certain euphoria in the air from all the Montana, Idaho and Wyoming residents buying a wolf tag, just as there is a similar whispering about “Delisting” (another MacGuffin intended to divert your attention with no real consequence) Grizzly Bears resulting in a few high cost licenses eventually – the implication being to fleece the rich, another socialist/communist policy favorite.  Wolves are not only hard to hunt, they learn quicker than a Jack Russel Terrier in Obedience School.  As all those license buyers are learning  this and understanding how few can be shot.  This will result in wolf license money becoming a minor factor, just as a few rich cats killing a few of those “sacred” grizzly bears will provide better media fodder to kill such hunts and hunting than that Minnesota Dentist that shot that Lion with a name in Zimbabwe recently.

–       Methods of taking wolves, much less grizzlies, will have to be non-lethal and cause them to put on weight to avoid lawsuits.  Trapping?  Definitely not.  Poisons?  Are you kidding?  Denning (i.e. killing pups)?  Yeah right.  Aerial shooting as Alaska and Russians know is the only effective and affordable means with a chance of real results?  Nope.  Gun calibers, bullet materials, etc. will be set so high that new guns and non-available ammunition will be the norm.  Federal land (USFS, BLM, USFWS, et al) requirements (they are landowners don’t you know) will further restrict all of these things and probably many we haven’t even thought about yet.

–       Speaking of aerial shooting to “manage” wolf numbers and distributions; 100 years ago men formed posses and rode down and killed the last wolves in Counties much like Irish and English landowners came up with wolfhounds – not for sport but to kill the last wolves in Ireland and thereby end the scourge, death and destruction wrought by wolves.  None of these are conceivable today in the Lower 48 states.  Private property and federal ownerships require Permission to fly over and shoot into, or to ride posses through or to run killer dogs in.  The federal estate behemoth and the private property owners with wolves will, for a multitude of reasons make any of that all but impossible.  I have written for years that County Wolf Boards in Counties desiring wolf control are the answer like County Weed Boards authorized to control wolves in various ways and any property owner (including federal properties In The County either allow access for wolf control, accomplish County-directed wolf control, or the County bills the landowner and places a lien or sues to pay for County-financed wolf control.  But, this requires delegated State Authority and a state with merely “management” delegation from federal authority cannot delegate that which it does not first possess.

If you still think “management return” is worth pursuing I will mention one last factor.  If you live in rural Minnesota you will always have the Twin Cities/Duluth political dominance (like Illinois has with Chicago) to contend with about wolves.  Rural Wisconsin has the same issue with Madison and Milwaukee.  Similarly rural Oregon has the same issue with Portland/Eugene that rural Washington has with Seattle.  Why allow them and all their compatriots in 1 through 4 above to utilize lawsuits and blackmail revolving around  withdrawing wolf management they so magnanimously granted.  You have to fight them anyway so level the field as best you can, for you will have no federal backers when push comes to shove.  Eliminate the federal tool just like Poland eliminated Soviet hegemony and tyranny  when the chance presented itself.

Now folks smarter than me might recommend achievable incremental change over time but I say that if Poland had followed that advice Pope John Paul, Reagan, and Thatcher would have died and the Bushes, Clinton, Obama and the current Pope would come and go and Poland would still evoke our pity and “tsk, tsks” as they were brought up at Brie parties on the Chicago North Shore (or maybe we would be speaking and reading Russian today?)

We need to push for real reform in federal law while this period of real change is underway.  Say and think what you will about President Trump, his voters have created a tumultuous atmosphere in Washington where momentum might favor achieving what everyone says is impossible.  If the folks in 1 through 4 above ever get back in power, we must make it so that they have to try and reauthorize this travesty in a law passed by the Congress and signed by the President that does what millions of rural Americans KNOW should never be re-instituted.  We could defeat that after what we now know is afoot.

When we ask for and get “management” returned to states we only quiet things down while real change is possible, thereby make a quick return to the status quo and where it has been leading us inevitable when Washington is again a problem.  Additionally, if we get “management” returns; how many rural Americans will believe that is the best we can do and then go into hibernation and let this reform of the law opportunity pass us by only to waken us with a bang when those in 1 through 4 re-seize federal power.

Those folks in 1 through 4 represent ideologies and a future that should be repugnant to all Americans but it is mainly rural Americans up until now that they are harming openly (the diversion of tax dollars and foregone work diverted to their peccadilloes are topics for future articles).  Their habits and notions cannot be “reformed”; we must defeat their programs by repealing them.

“Returning Management to the State” is merely a placebo we take to fool ourselves into believing we have taken something real.  Anything short of eliminating this Constitutional insult at this time is a real defeat and anyone telling you different should be listened to at your (and our) own peril.

Jim Beers

11 July2017

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.net

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