Yesterday, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, in a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, told the Secretary that he is being forced by failed promises and stalled litigation to “uphold the rights of our citizens” and will begin ordering his wildlife personnel to kill packs of wolves eating livestock.

Why are we seeing what appears to be a sudden and certainly aggressive move on the part of Gov. Schweitzer? Perhaps he has finally gotten to the same point many others of his citizenry reached months ago. Perhaps he is fed up with promises made and promises broken. Perhaps he has come to the end of the line on endless and fruitless lawsuits that resolve nothing yet keep the rights of people to prosper in check. Maybe he’s just sick and tired of a maladroit federal bureaucracy incapable of functioning at a commonsensical standard.

There are efforts on many fronts to effect some sort of change in these endless wolf wars but why would a sane person have any confidence that rational thinking and common sense would prevail with government in control. Give me one reason why any of us should believe one word that leaches from the mouth of a politician, head of the Interior or even the President of the United States. If people would learn only one lesson from wolf introduction is that it’s been one giant lie, a series of perpetuated myths, deceptions, broken promises and deliberate malfeasance rising to the level of criminal.

Most who follow this blog know about efforts in Washington to pass H.R. 509, a bill that would get wolves off the Endangered Species Act (ESA) list for good. How much trust do we put in this? It matters not the topic in political discourse, all remain subject to corruption at every level.

Governor Schweitzer sees his two senators, Tester and Baucus, in Washington doing everything they can to derail H.R. 509, while hiding behind their own version of a bill that would do nothing to ease the pain of Montana’s people.

Days later he learns Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson proposes a plan that on the surface to most appears to be a good idea. How often, if ever, do we get to see any kind of legislation without hidden agendas and political debt reconciliation?

The Courts are useless in this case, with little hope of any resolve anytime in the next 3-5 years. Any short-term resolutions appears to only further put Montana ranchers in deeper peril, while elk, deer and moose populations get ravaged by overblown populations of wolves, threatening to annihilate a once robust hunting industry. Have we spoken much about public safety? Disease? Attacks?

Expanded 10(j), new rules that provide another step toward protecting threatened elk, deer and moose populations, is being threatened in the courts. Both Idaho and Montana went through the bureaucratic process of petition for relief from wolves. Idaho received preliminary notice the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) intends to allow some wolf killing and that Montana’s request is being considered. This, of course, will once again be challenged in the courts, with no real hope for resolve.

While any of these things are reason enough to cause a leader to take up drinking or at least to fall down in a fit and bang his head on the floor, perhaps nothing more sticks in the craw of an honest man than to be lied to. It began long ago with the very first sputtering about wolf introduction.

Then came “The Deal“. A federal document that laid out precisely the steps of wolf introduction, the roles each entity would assume, the promises made to the people. I haven’t enough fingers and toes to count the number of times the promises have been broken. When is enough enough?

“The Deal” says:

Management of the nonessential experimental wolf population would allow reintroduced wolves to be killed or moved by Service authorized Federal, State, and tribal agencies for domestic animal depredations and excessive predation on big game populations. Under special conditions, the public could harass or kill wolves attacking livestock (cattle, sheep, horses, and mules). There would be no Federal compensation program, but compensation from existing private funding sources would be encouraged.

As was promised in “The Deal” it has been Federal resources, often the USDA Wildlife Services, that handled “problem” wolves. Federal dollars paid for that. Knowing how many people it would anger if the USFWS announced it was ending use of Wildlife Services leaving states to fend for themselves, perhaps a better way to “backdoor” it would be to defund it. Politics at its finest. And yet I ask, is there any reason to believe anybody anymore?

In the defunct Congress and unskilled White House, the threat looms that the government will be shut down because thieves can’t decide how best to waste our tax dollars. As such, a Continuing Resolution (CR) needs to be passed to keep funding a runaway train that has no conductor. This CR is being loaded up with amendments and included is a reduction of funds to the USFWS of $72 million for the remainder of this fiscal year. How that affects the wolf problem is unclear to me as of yet. (Still digging)

Robert Fanning, founder of the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd, said in a statement yesterday:

President B.O.’s [Barack Obama] budget requests a $10 million reduction in Wildlife Services operations for next fiscal year including elimination of directives of livestock protection in SD, MT, ID, WY, WV, PA and wolf $ inWI, MN and MI plus millions generally from the program operations. All programs will be affected with some states entirely shut down from federal funds.

If this is true, then we can all get a better sense of why Governor Schweitzer reacted in the fashion he did. Not only are the people in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming being kicked in the teeth and punched in the guts, now comes the knee to the groin. How would you react?

It appears the states here have reached a point where the Federal Government, in all their mostly illegal efforts to render them powerless, may have awakened a sleeping giant. Left with no other recourse, Montana is showing the Feds where the door is and to get the hell out and never come back.

I was reminded by Mr. Fanning about Montana’s historic 3-7-77.

Tom Remington

Related Posts