Archive for July 24th, 2008

by jhwygirl

The Jackson Hole News and Guide gives us the details on Schweitzer’s letter to the USDA, which criticizes Wyoming’s practice of operating elk feedgrounds and Bridger-Teton National Forest’s recent approval of renewing state leases on the National Forest.

“Despite long-standing acknowledgement of the problem, it now appears that Wyoming Game and Fish and the USDA are the only two entities who believe these feedgrounds are not a major contributing factor to the Greater Yellowstone Area being the last remaining reservoir for brucellosis in the nation,” Schweitzer said in the letter.

“Montana had done everything in its power to prevent the transmission of brucellosis to its cattle herd,” he said. “Meanwhile, USDA has insisted upon application of antiquated herd-to-herd regulations for disease transmission in cattle that have nothing to do with transmission from wildlife. As a result, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming at best continue to experience a yo-yo effect with respect to brucellosis status. At worst, the net effect is a permanent loss of status.”

“The Forest Service has taken a firm step to continue franchising the feeding of elk, while [USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services] continues to employ outdated, inapplicable and heavy-handed regulations, and threatens the state with loss of its brucellosis status.”

The Governor’s letter goes to to say that he is considering opting out of the Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee (GYIBC) memorandum of understanding:

“I am questioning the wisdom of signing this document, when it has not been demonstrated to me that all parties are truly committed to finding realistic solutions.”

Conservation groups have sued to stop the feedgrounds, so needless to say, they are pleased with the Governor’s position.

Considering opting out of the GYIBC MOU is certainly an option that needs to be very seriously considered. Slaughtering bison is not the solution. Not in any way. Montana can not participate in the slaughter of wildlife as a reasonable practice for managing brucellosis.

The GYIBC’s members include the Wyoming Game & Fish, the USDA Forest Service, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service – all agencies which manage, promote and/or have feedgrounds on the lands they manage.

Consider the GYIBC’s goal:

It is the Goal of the Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee to protect and sustain the existing free-ranging elk and bison populations in the Greater Yellowstone Area and protect the public interests and economic viability of the livestock industry in the States of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.

Given the GYIBC’s goal, its members, and their actions, the Governor has no choice: Opt Out – Now.

by jhwygirl

Sent to me by an astute reader, Governor Schweitzer fired off a letter on Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, criticizing Wyoming’s elk feedgrounds, which many say are a breeding ground for brucellosis.


This was one of the developments out of Tuesdays Board of Livestock meeting – the other being the revival of the split-state status, in which the brucellosis hot spot around Yellowstone is subject to vaccine and other mitigative measures, leaving the rest of the state without having to subject its cattle to the extra round of oversight. Schweitzer has pushed for this method for years now. Under a split-state status, only 5% of Montana’s cattle would be affected.

Now if he can stand strong and put an end to the bison slaughter for now – either that or start the slaughter of elk too, since they’ve been the root cause of Montana’s last two cases of brucellosis – then maybe now we can move forward to real solutions instead of hysterical political “kill the bison” mentality.

I’ll note, too, that the Board of Livestock story – and the mention of the Governor’s letter to the USDA – was mentioned in Forbes Magazine. It’s that important, folks. People are paying attention.

Thank you, Governor, for a step forward.

by jhwygirl

Standing in front of a solar panel, Montana’s congressman, Representative “I-sleep-on-my-couch” Rehberg announced his plan for America’s Energy Independence.

Rehberg has proudly supporting 7 bills:

HR 3089 which builds more oil refineries and “making available more homegrown energy through environmentally sensitive exploration of the Arctic Energy Slope and America’s Deep-Sea Energy Reserves”;

HR 2279 which streamlines refinery application processes and “requiring the President to open at least three closed military installations for the purpose of siting new and reliable American refineries.”;

HR 2208, which promotes coal-to-liquid by authorizing the Secretary of Energy to enter into loan agreements for these projects. Yep – you read that rights – loan agreements for the federal government. And just who are those loans going to come from? China?;

HR 5656 which pushes forward alternative fuels acquisitions by the federal government in oil shale, tar sands, and coal-to-liquid (who knew coal and oil were alternative fuels? Not me….);

HR 2493 which reduces the price of gasoline by removing fuel blend requirements and onerous government mandates if they contribute to unaffordable gas prices;

HR 6107 which opens the Arctic Energy Slope to environmentally sensitive American energy exploration, and creates a “alternative energy trust fund” from .01% of the revenues. With coal and oil shale being alternative fuels, I don’t know if I buy it – and, yes folks, he’s championing “environmentally sensitive American energy exploration.”; and finally,

HR 6108 is titled “Deep Oceans Energy Resources Act of 2008,” and I think you know what that means: Drill. Drill. Drill. Yipee Ki Yay!

Contrast all Rehberg’s gobbly-gook to Senator Max Baucus’ S.3125, introduced June 12 and titled the “Energy Independence and Tax Relief Act of 2008.”

Max’s bill – read twice already and now sitting in the Finance Committee – does the following:

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend various provisions relating to energy production and conservation and to individual and business-related activities;

Extends through 2009 the tax credit for producing electricity from wind facilities and through 2011 for closed and open-loop biomass, geothermal, small irrigation, hydropower, landfill gas, and trash combustion facilities. Includes marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy as a renewable resource for purposes of such tax credit;

Extends through 2014: (1) the energy tax credits for solar energy, fuel cell, and microturbine property; and (2) the residential energy efficient property tax credit. Allows a new investment tax credit for combined heat and power system property;

Allows a tax credit for new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicles;

Extends through 2013 the tax deduction for energy efficient commercial building expenditures;

Extends through 2010 the tax credit for energy efficient appliances;

…and so it goes.

Now, to be fair – he’s got an inclusion which “allows tax credits for investment in advanced coal electricity and coal gasification projects,” but he’s also got this one, which “extends through 2018 the temporary increase in coal excise taxes, but sets forth special rules for refunds of coal excise taxes to certain producers or exporters.”

So someone please explain to me how Rehberg can stand there and make his announcement in front of a solar panel while endorsing offshore drilling, Artic drilling and coal-to-liquid, in every which way you can possibly imagine – especially in the context of our Good Senator Baucus’ bill – which is essentially a renumeration of stuff that he has been advocating for years?

Sure does make him look silly now, doesn’t it?

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