November 14, 2018

Bishop Sends Letter to Secretary Zinke Over Department Misconduct Policies

From the House Committee on Natural Resources”

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 4, 2018 –

Today, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, requesting documents and information regarding the Department’s workplace misconduct policies and improvements that have taken place.

“The Committee is conducting ongoing oversight of employee misconduct issues at the U.S. Department of the Interior (Department).  The Department employs approximately 70,000 people in 2,400 operating locations [and] those entrusted to execute [the Department’s] responsibilities should be held to the highest ethical and professional standards…

On February 2, 2017, the Committee wrote to then-Acting Secretary Jack Haugrud to express concerns about the several years of disturbing cases of employee misconduct at the Department

One such case highlighted in the Committee’s February 2, 2017 letter was that of former Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Office of Law Enforcement Supervisory Agent Dan Love.  Mr. Love’s behavior was symptomatic of the Department’s previous culture of mismanagement, which turned a blind eye to his corruption and abuse of authority.  While the Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiated an investigation of Mr. Love in October 2015, it was [not until September 2017] that his employment was finally terminated.”

Click here to read the full letter.

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Ransom Money Disguised As “Voluntary” Mitigation Payments

It seems that the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources is conducting an investigation into how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determines what energy companies and other private businesses pay in what is conveniently called “Voluntary Payments” used to “mitigate” impacts on migratory birds. This could prove interesting.

An email that accompanied this letter from the head of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee to Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said that even though the letter requested sought-after information before December 1, 2016, as of January 10, 2017, no “substantive documents” had been received.

Isn’t this very much typical administration stonewalling? In this case, let the next director handle it.

Click this link to read the letter.

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What About The FOIA Requests From the Press Herald?

While some should be happy that Maine Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos of Friendship is seeking a federal investigation into whether or not the Maine Warden Service (MWS) illegally carried out undercover operations, has everyone forgotten that the MWS, to my knowledge, has yet to comply with state and federal laws by withholding documents requested by the Portland Press Herald?

I have written in the past that perhaps it was time for the Maine Legislature to take a look at the guidelines – which seem to be a secret – and determine if there needs to be changes made to undercover operations by Maine law enforcement agencies. A bit puzzling in all of this is that in each of the cases in question, that have been heard by a Maine Court, no judge has seen fit to not charge any of the defendants due to illegal actions by the MWS. Some judges have called the tactics questionable.

Assuming the Courts are not also corrupt (wink, wink) what then is the purpose of seeking a federal investigation? If the state-approved guidelines for undercover agents is being adhered to, then the next logical step would appear to be an examination of the guidelines.

But, is this really the more serious matter in all of this? What about the fact that at least one media source cannot complete its investigation because the MWS refuses to turn over documents requested through the Freedom of Information Access Law?

A federal investigation might determine that a raid that was filmed by a television film crew was staged and embellished but without release of requested documents, how can the people know exactly what took place and the communications carried out in these events.

I certainly hope the efforts to get documents from government agencies is not forgotten in all of this. Perhaps that is the intent? Do law enforcement agents and other government agencies intend to deflect attention away for FOIA and place it somewhere else where they know it will be an easier dead end? More than likely.

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Maine Warden Service Needs More Women and Baiting Deer?

While the problems at the Maine Warden Service (MWS) continue to fester, much because government and law enforcement have opted to “investigate” themselves, denying any wrongdoing and to hell with anyone who thinks they might have, writers are offering their own suggestions of how to remedy the Maine Warden Service’s problems.

First, one writer suggests that all these issues would go away if the MWS would just hire more women. Let me understand this. It seems, according to an expose filed by the Portland Press Herald, the MWS is carrying on some illegal acts during their undercover investigations, may have colluded with Animal Planet’s television crew filming of “North Woods Law,” to embellish reality, and refuses to provide right-to-know documents or the ones provided are heavily redacted. Even if, all things considered, women are capable and qualified to do the exact same job as a male warden, I need some assistance in understanding how these actions of the MWS will all go away if more women were on the force. Have I missed something about women in the past 50 years? Or better yet, have I missed something about men?

Another writer, who claims to be a big fan of “North Woods Law,” says that he has issues with camera crews following law enforcement around taking pictures. My question then would be how can one expect a reality TV show about the Maine Warden Service, a law enforcement organization, if there are no cameras rolling? Are they then supposed to witness the action then go back to the studio and try to recreate it?

The same author, evidently believes that the same issues I’ve mentioned above would not have taken place if wardens hadn’t been active in campaigning against the last proposed anti-hunting bear referendum. In addition, somehow this author doesn’t even suspect, as Maine humorist Tim Sample used to say, that bear baiting and deer baiting have nothing in common with the exception that bait is used. Somehow, baiting bears, if allowed, should then be permitted to other species. For $100 I could let him buy a clue and provide a little understanding as to why bears are baited in the first place and deer are not. However, I doubt that would help, because throughout the entire bear referendum campaign, it was repeated, like a broken record, that baiting of bears is a necessary tool in order to better control the population of bears. Hint: Maine does not have a deer population problem, that is, too many deer. If they did, they might allow baiting deer if it was deemed a necessary tool to control deer populations.

But that’s not the issue for this guy is it?

Let me repeat. The MWS is being accused of questionable tactics by undercover agents and withholding FOIA documents. Suggestions for remedies, we have just discovered, include hiring more women and not allowing wardens to campaign in referendums that would severely impact their jobs. In addition, if baiting bears would stop, these problems would go away.

But the ignorance grows. This author has suggested that nobody would be paying much attention to the MWS if they hadn’t botched the search and rescue efforts of the woman who wandered off the Appalachian Trail and wasn’t found until later. Search for the lost hiker began in July of 2013, was called off about 8 or 9 days later and her remains were finally located in October of 2015. The author appears to indicate that because the hiker’s body was found, “less than 3 miles from where she went missing,” the MWS was inept in their search effort and tactics. Obviously the author knows nothing about how large an area “less than 3 miles” would be in a circumference around the point where searchers THOUGHT the hike MIGHT have gone missing. I also wonder if the author has ever participated in a search and rescue with the MWS?

I’m not sure I understand the need to dump all over the MWS and to exploit a war between an administration and a news agency, to promote equal rights for women and faulting the MWS for doing a difficult job. Perhaps it’s more just a dislike of the MWS or something. If anybody has issues with the MWS then take the initiative to address those issues and not use an unrelated incident to badger the Service for some other reason.

The issues appear simple. Maine needs to review its undercover sting policies and release documents legally requested. This will never happen so long as the government agency investigates itself. But for certain, these issues will not go away if more women are hired and if we can only ban bear baiting.

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Government Will Investigate Government in Maine Warden Service Conundrum

*Editor’s Note* – I have written previously on this subject. Follow these links for more information and commentary – HEREHEREHEREHERE

I told you so! Back on May 13, 2016, in response to a news report that the State of Maine would conduct an investigation into possible illegal or improper tactics by undercover Maine Wardens, and the subsequent accusation of stonewalling the press for information under the Freedom of Information Access Act law, I expressed myself thus: “There have been calls for an “investigation” into what’s going on as well as a look into the written policies, which evidently are a secret, that regulate the behavior of undercover Maine wardens. The problem with such an investigation is that it is likely to be the government investigating the government, and we all know what that outcome will be.” (emboldening added)

The Portland Press Herald is now reporting that limited representation from the Maine Judiciary Committee, along with limited members of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Warden Service, will be part of a “hearing,” open to the public but with no outside questions or input. In short, a dog and pony show. “There is no public hearing scheduled. No members of the public, no alleged victims of entrapment, no members of the press who have been stiffed on their FOAA requests, no criminal defense attorneys, nor other interested parties will be allowed to speak or participate. This is simply not fair or adequate.”

Not since the Maine Government investigated itself (this link has several articles about the Baxter Land Swap as well as Gardner Lumber Company cutting of deer yard timber) on the extremely controversial “Baxter Land Swap” and an investigation of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife of itself, concerning actions that allowed for the cutting of deer yard forest of certain public lands, – land that was part of the Baxter Land Swap – is there such thumbing of noses at a legitimate judicial review and public transparency – one can only conclude the good ole boys are at work covering their own asses. And, is it my imagination or does it appear as though even the undertaking of a much needed investigation is highly political and falls mostly, if not completely, along party lines?

Like good, non-thinking, robotic slaves, we are to never question government, or its authority, and accept what we are told as being the truth…their truth.

Lying

CoconutsBearEggs

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Nightmare Continues: More Accusations Against Same MWS Undercover Agent

The Portland Press Herald has another story today about another “sting” operation that took place in 2013 and 2014 in York County, that involved the same Maine Warden Service undercover officer who has been the focus of “controversial” tactics to catch “criminals” (predisposed to crime?) in Aroostook and Oxford Counties.

There have been calls for an “investigation” into what’s going on as well as a look into the written policies, which evidently are a secret, that regulate the behavior of undercover Maine wardens. The problem with such an investigation is that it is likely to be the government investigating the government, and we all know what that outcome will be.

It is my guess, without having the policies in front of me and judging from previous court rulings, that the undercover agent is following the policies. Perhaps it’s time for an examination of those policies and offer some changes.

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State police suspend investigation into ‘suspicious’ Wallowa County deaths of 2 wolves

*Editor’s Note* – This modus operendi closely resembles what I have seen in North Carolina with red wolves. When evidence doesn’t fit the crime sought after, strange things happen. Perhaps we can get a sense of something not quite being right when we take a look at what appears in the linked-to article below.

Readers are first told that,”because of the advanced decay of the animals’ remains” officials were unable to determine what killed the wolves. And yet, the state police says that, “likely there were witnesses to the CRIME.” What’s the crime? Couldn’t the police have more accurately said that likely there may have been people in the area who could give us some better information as to what they might have seen regarding the two dead wolves? These are dead, wild animals – an event that is common in the wild.

The report says “evidence points toward humans being in the area” when the wolves died. So! This was public land. Are humans not permitted in the area?

If an illegal killing of wolves by humans took place, then gather the evidence and make the charge against them. But crap like this only serves to make people suspicious of the actions of government officials eager to create the evidence to wrongly accuse someone who was in the area at the time.

And they wonder why people are distrustful of government.

A veterinarian who conducted necropsies on the carcasses of two wolves found dead in late August in Wallowa County was unable to determine how they died, state police officials said Wednesday.

Lt. Bill Fugate, a state police spokesman, said the carcasses were found on public land north of Enterprise. It’s likely there were witnesses to the crime, he said. (emboldening added)

Source: State police suspend investigation into ‘suspicious’ Wallowa County deaths of 2 wolves | OregonLive.com

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US Fish & Wildlife Service Investigating Killing Of Cecil The Lion

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the agency is investigating the killing of Cecil the Lion, saying it will “go where facts lead.”

Source: US Fish & Wildlife Service Investigating Killing Of Cecil The Lion « CBS Minnesota

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North Carolina’s Criminal Red Wolf and Wildlife Activities

Editor’s Note: All of this information was contained in an email sent to me from a concerned resident of North Carolina. I have taken the liberty to attempt to place this information in a chronological order. I hope I have done it justice.

Officer Wayne,

I would like to report the following alleged wildlife violations in your region.

1. 31 counts of sterilization of coyotes without a permit.
This activity apparently involves USFWS biologists and the veterinary clinics that performed the sterilizations.

Evidence:

From USFWS January – March 2013 Quarterly Report –

http://www.fws.gov/redwolf/Images/20130416_RedWolf_QtrReport_FY13-02.pdf

“Thirty-one coyotes were captured and released during the quarter, 29 of which were first-time captures. All captured coyotes were sterilized before being radio-collared and released, and consisted of eight males and 23 females.”

USFWS had no sterilization permit during this time period.

It is my strong belief that this activity was repeated again from January through May of 2014. The USFWS reports for this period have not been published. USFWS keeps a “canid book” which will have the information you need.

There was no sterilization permit in place for this period either.

In addition, I believe USFWS has been sterilizing coyotes in our State for almost 15 years. Please cross-reference the trapping and sterilization documentation in their quarterly reports with the issuance of the required permits during this time period. There are likely hundreds of violations.

2. Trapping out of season without a permit.

Evidence:

See the above referenced evidence.

Additionally, this USFWS presentation documents their trapping schedule is daily September through April.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4hb-L8j0UYebzNkdFFPakRWSXM/edit

“•? Trapping (Sept-April) •? Daily”

3. Trapping on the land of another without written permission.

Evidence:

I have requested information regarding this activity from USFWS and have not yet received it. Since 90% of the red wolf packs and the vast majority of coyotes occur on private land, I suspect this activity to be rampant. Again, the USFWS “canid book” information and lack of written permission from landowners should suffice as evidence. I have additional first hand information if you need it.

4. Releasing coyotes on the land of another without permission.

Evidence:
“FWS biologists have also tried bringing in sterilized coyotes to the area. The idea is those sterile animals will keep other coyotes out of the wolf territory and lower the risk of hybridization.”

http://www.timberwolfinformation.org/nc-north-carolina-red-wolf-also-subject-of-conservation-controversy/

I suspect coyotes were trapped, sterilized and released on my farm in Tyrrell Co. in the Spring and Summer of 2013 by USFWS biologists. I never granted permission for anyone to release coyotes on my property. USFWS while at the office of the NCWRC Director was specifically directed by me to euthanize any trapped coyotes on my property. The USFWS should have this data. Again, the “canid book” should have this data.

It is well documented that USFWS regularly purchases coyotes from trappers. I can only assume these purchased coyotes are later released and likely released on private property without permission.

5. Purchase of live coyotes, entrapment, misrepresentation.

In the State of NC, it is illegal for wildlife to be bought and sold. One exception is that a coyote or fox may be sold only to a fox pen. Now, if special conditions that I am unaware of allow USFWS to purchase wildlife, will you confirm that these conditions were fully met at all times. It will be a real shame if local trappers (selling live coyotes to non fox pen buyer) and veterinarians (sterilization of wildlife) have jeopardized their livelihoods because they were led to believe that they were participating in a legal activity as it was represented to them by the USFWS. I will also copy Roy Cooper, as if my suspicions are correct, he will need to get involved in this matter.

Evidence:

“This year, we had 8 trappers participate and we paid out $5,200 for 32 coyotes and 10 red wolves.” 4/4/13 letter USFWS to RWC
I can provide this letter when necessary.

Officer Wayne, I take these alleged violations seriously and request to be updated regularly on their status.

Also, are you comfortable that the deer used to feed the wolves in the acclimation pens and also the deer that are laced with medications and wormers for the “wild” wolves are taken legally (all required permits and landowner permissions)? Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

Jett Ferebee

http://www.nchuntandfish.com/forums/showthread.php?103801-USFWS-Red-Wolf-Recovery-Team-Reported-for-Alleged-Wildlife-Violations-by-Jett-Ferebee

http://www.nchuntandfish.com/forums/showthread.php?95624-quot-Red-Wolf-quot-restoration-scandal

Mr. Ferebee,
Thank you for your referral. The Service takes all allegations of misconduct very seriously. On March 26, 2015, this office initiated an investigation into allegations made by another concerned party into the Red Wolf Program. The case number for this matter is FWS-2015-24. I would ask your patience as we look into this sizable program. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at the below numbers. -Keith

_________________________
K. A. Toomey, #640
Special Agent in Charge
Professional Responsibility Unit
US Fish & Wildlife Service

ESA Section 7 Violations by USFWS – Red Wolf Program

Date: Tue, Mar 31, 2015 2:18 pm
Attachment
Secretary Jewell, Director Ashe, and Ms. Harvey,

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 requires US Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct intra-agency consultation for its own actions that may impact listed, proposed, and candidate species and designated and proposed critical habitat. In 1986, USFWS filed the attached ESA Intra-agency Section 7 Consultation regarding the red wolf introduction into North Carolina. Please note 3 of the 4 evaluators stated the intended action “may affect” the red wolf population.

The attached Section 7 Consultation document explicitly states that USFWS will remove 10 (but up to 12 animals) from the captive red wolf population for release onto the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge with an estimated incidental take of only 2 animals.

USFWS, over the next five years removed 43 (not 10 or even 12) animals from the captive population. 14 of these 43 wolves were released onto private land outside of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge without legal authorization or the protections offered by the refuge system.

22 of the 43 animals (not 2), removed from the captive population died within 5 years of their release. (See the 1992 ARNWR report: http://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/anr-ar-pi-1992.pdf and the attached FOIA wolf release document)

To date USFWS has now removed 132 wolves out of the captive population of which 64 were illegally released onto private land. 60 out of 64 (93.75%) of all suspected illegal takes have occurred on private land. Internal USFWS policy is to discourage removal of wolves from private land.

The 1986 Section 7 Consultation document states:

“If during the course of the action the amount of extent of incidental taking previously specified is exceeded, the refuge manager and the field supervisor must reinitiate consultation immediately.”

Ms. Sharneka,

Please provide the required Section 7 Consultation for the removal of an additional 120 “red wolves” (132 – 12 approved) from the captive breeding population.

Please provide the required Section 7 Consultation to sustain an incidental take beyond the 2 estimated animals as required in the 1986 Section 7 Consultation.

Please provide the Section 7 Consultation to release wolves on private land and to not remove wolves from private land where the wolves are less protected.

Please provide the Section 7 Consultation providing for the released of red wolves outside of their historic range. (see attached USFWS Red Wolf Historic Range map)

Secretary Jewell and Director Ashe,

It is important to note that the Red Wolf Recovery plan sets the needed captive population at 330 animals. After more than 30 years, this captive population only has 197 very closely related individuals. The entire red wolf population is highly susceptible to inbreeding as it was started with only 14 so called “red wolves”. Now, only six of these founder wolves are represented in the wild.

Has the unauthorized “take” of 120 red wolves from the captive breeding population by USFWS personnel now jeopardized the existence of the red wolf species, if indeed it is a species?

Has the unauthorized “take” of 120 red wolves by USFWS irreparably harmed the red wolf “species” by further causing an inbred population both in the wild and in captivity?

Has the unauthorized release of red wolves onto private land and the failure to remove wolves from private land by USFWS resulted in “USFWS self inflicted” losses that now jeopardize and adversely impact the existence of the red wolf species, if indeed it is a species?

Has the unwillingness for USFWS personnel to abide by hardly any of the Endangered Species Act rules governing the red wolf introduction in eastern NC, now so eroded private landowner support that a successful reintroduction of the red wolf can never be achieved anywhere?

Has the release of red wolves outside of their historic range by USFWS personnel adversely impacted or jeopardized the existence of the “red wolf species”? (see attached USFWS Red Wolf Historic Range map)

I thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Jett Ferebee

Special Agent in Charge Keith Toomey,

Thank you so much for creating a case file and investigating the alleged NC Wildlife law violations by USFWS Red Wolf personnel.

Probably more concerning and serious is the alleged illegal “take” of 120 red wolves by USFWS Red Wolf personnel. Additionally, USFWS red wolf personnel have released a nonessential experimental population of wolves outside of it’s historical range, which is a violation of the ESA 10(j) rules.

“The PRU conducts both criminal and administrative investigations for the Service of other non-law enforcement Service employees when asked based on the seriousness of the alleged offense.”

Will the USFWS Professional Responsibility Unit please investigate the ESA Section 7 and the ESA 10(j) rules violations by the USFWS – Red Wolf Program personnel as outlined in the below email?

MapHistoricRange

PDF of All Wolf Releases

Copy of FOIA Letter re: Section 7 Consultation requirement

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Benghazi: Traitorous Deeds at the Highest Level of Government

“I think Gowdy is serious, and I think he is a real patriot, but I think he has been warned away from the final conclusion or he’s been threatened,” Jones told WND.

“I’ve been working very closely with the Citizens’ Commission, and I think Gowdy, if he doesn’t go any further than he has, has either been warned within the Republican Party or threatened externally.”

“The truth is Boehner only agreed to appoint the Select Committee after a lot of pressure from a lot of people and to put Gowdy in to head it, which is something we all recommended,” Jones said. “But I think Boehner has either given Gowdy the word that enough is enough, or it’s gone above Boehner, and Gowdy’s been threatened.”

Asked directly, Jones agreed with Vallely that traitorous deeds at the highest level of government were committed regarding Benghazi and that the Republicans in Congress have joined the Democrats in a continuing cover-up.<<<Read More>>>

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