My reasons for writing are twofold. First, because I read Rick Meis on collaboration, Mike Garrity on money losing timber sales and George Wuerthner’s, “’Extremists,’ not collaborators, have kept wilderness whole”. Hallelujah! I want to publicly shout out a huge THANK YOU to all you Montana and other western ‘extremists’ for all you’ve done to keep America intact and livable. Don’t ever back down and let happen out there what has happened in Virginia. For example, less than 2% of Shenandoah Mountain, probably the largest single contiguous tract of National Forest in the entire eastern United States, is protected as “wilderness”. And only 0.8% of the entire state of VA is – this meager state of affairs is what desecrators and dominionists here call “balance”.
These are the same people who tell us over and over that National Forests and other public lands just can’t be healthy without more stumps and roads and cattle and fires, without the liberal application of chainsaws and bulldozers and invasive species. According to them, all those National Parks and Wilderness Areas and internationally recognized World Heritage sites out there existing without welfare logging and welfare grazing and welfare drilling, are all an unhealthy mess. Any of you reading this can visit such places and learn about them for yourselves. “Who you going to believe, your lying eyes and scientifically verifiable facts, or us vested interests sucking the money out of your pockets?”
Which brings me to the second reason for writing: the Inter-governmental Grizzly Delisting Committee and Gov. Bullock’s hand-picked Grizzly Bear Advisory Council. These “public servants” conveniently ignore habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, as well as years of record high Grizzly mortality in their rush to delist the isolated populations in the greater Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide areas (more than 90% of the Bears in the 48 states). Pushed, as always, by political agendas favoring subsidized extraction on the public’s lands.
Grizzlies are gone from over 95% of their range and even that’s not enough for them. The Bear might get in the way of the gravy train that’s set up to enrich public lands loggers, grazers, drillers, and miners. At the expense of us all. Well connected special interests get to destroy our homelands and our natural heritage and our liberty, and the rest of us get to pay for it. That’s how it works when you’re special.
But when I and other peons get our government’s helping hand, the same clique start finger-pointing and screaming “socialism!” When they get it it’s “rugged individualism” and “free enterprise”. Below cost timber sales and below cost grazing on National Forests and BLM lands. Taxpayer paid wildlife killing courtesy of “Wildlife Services”. Mining and drilling subsidized by us all. That’s not welfare, no, that’s business as usual.
Courtesy of so-called ‘conservatives’ and ‘Christians’ in high office who think they know better than God what species are important and which should be allowed to survive. Too bad they and their “great and unmatched wisdom” weren’t around when Noah built that ark. They could have set him straight, along with that big dummy giving the orders – who was it, Yahweh somebody? – “Forget saving all the species, we know better than you two who needs to be allowed to survive: only the ones who don’t get in the way of our wallets.”
So, on the one hand, we have people like GOAL, the Tribal Coalition to Protect the Grizzly , a small underfunded group that has pulled together over 40 tribal nations to keep the US Interior Department from removing the Grizzly from the Endangered Species list. And on the other we have people like Rep. Cheney (WY-R), who wants to remove ESA protection from Grizzly Bears to allow some of her constituents to slaughter them for fun, and who publicly accused Native Americans who oppose her of trying to “destroy our western way of life.” Really. No joke, she actually said that. While other leaders of her party have proclaimed, “Trump is the chosen one”.
Let that be a wakeup call to all you ‘extremists’ in Montana and Virginia and across America – We’ve all got to step it up a notch. When you’re up against forces so malignant and out of touch with reality that they blame tribal people for destroying their ‘western way of life’ and favorably compare an unmitigated money lover to Jesus, your response cannot be too ‘extreme’. Against such ideology and its corporate enablers, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, as good as it is, does not go nearly far enough. Similar legislation needs to be enacted all over America. All our National Forests, BLM lands, and Wildlife Refuges desperately need a new legal framework. One that puts an end to the looting of the shared commonwealth. Permanently.