From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 5, Number 19 - August 4, 2005
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Commission joins conservation alliance

by Cat Urbigkit

Wyoming Conservation Alliance executive director Kara Brighton spoke to Sublette County Commissioners Tuesday about this new Wyoming corporation.

WCA's goal is to conserve Wyoming by increasing participation in regulatory processes undertaken by federal and state agencies. WCA, on a daily basis, monitors agency action and assists in submitting comments on behalf of resource users.

Brighton explained that the hope is to encourage involvement in the front-end of planning processes, instead of at the end, which is usually litigation.

Brighton pointed out that failure to participate in the beginning of a federal planning process means a waiver of the right to litigate the issue in the future.

WCA, a Wyoming corporation, was formed by 15 investors in 2004 to encourage and assist business, industry, ranchers, sportsmen and local governments to be involved in natural resource issues.

Brighton explained that the corporation has three levels of membership, with the top two levels involving daily notification of natural resource agency action. In addition, level 1 members may have the coalition draft about 10 letters of comment per year for no additional cost.

The coalition can help its members form litigation coalitions, such as the Wyoming Wolf Coalition, which formed to contest the federal rejection of Wyoming's wolf management plan.

Level I members are usually state associations or groups and include organizations like the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation. This level of membership has a $5,000 per year membership fee.

Level II membership includes local governments, which are charged $1,000 per year. This includes the daily updates, but comment letters would be drafted based on a set fee.

Level III is individual membership, which costs $250 annually and includes monthly updates instead of daily.

Commissioner John Linn suggested that with the current number of issues the county needs to be involved in, the commission should go for level I membership rather than level II. He said the county could take advantage of the assistance in drafting comments on 10 issues.

Linn expressed his displeasure with recent action by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission in adopting the grizzly bear occupancy proposal, despite major opposition from the public living within the area.

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