From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 6, Number 26 - September 21, 2006
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Groups rally prior to feds’ session

by Jennifer Belknap

A listening session on cooperative conservation and environmental partnerships was held Tuesday, Sept. 19, at in the Sublette County Library in Pinedale. Michael Bogert, counselor to the Secretary of the Interior, attended.

Partnership for America, a grassroots coalition, held a “Rally for Reform” in front of the library prior to the session. The rally began with speaker Paul Poister, director of field operations with Partnership for America (a broad-based alliance that supports a clean and healthy growing environment). Poister gave information about Partnership for America, which currently has more than 600 companies, associations and coalitions. He stated that he had told federal officials that the ESA has “failed to deliver on its original intent to recover troubled species of animals and plants to health.

Also discussed was the more than 1,300 species in the United States that have been listed as threatened or endangered, with less than 1 percent successfully recovered, a failure of 99 percent.

Next to speak was Jim Magagna, whose concern was for farmers and ranchers. He said that the scientific ability today to protect vital species is more advanced than originally , and more leadership and focus is needed. Magagna also stated that the federal agency seemed to be handicapped.

Also speaking was Wyoming Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife Executive Director Bob Wharff. Wharff stated that he is concerned that grizzlies and wolves are not being managed, instead of being on the endangered species list. The concern of hunters is whether they will be able to retrieve their game before the grizzlies and wolves do. Wharff said that these animals become braver a little each time they approach town. Stories of these animals attacking domestic animals and ranchers’ livestock abound, and Wharff wants to be able to manage these animals before they attack a human.

The last speaker before the listening session began was Jack Welch, president of Blue Ribbon Coalition. The coalition is a national recreational group that champions responsible use of public and private lands, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. Welch stated that with the release of the national parks’ management policies, there is serious cause for concern. The policies could limit the future enjoyment of national parks.

The listening session was standing-room-only. The rules were laid out: speakers only had 2 1/2 minutes to speak, and anyone with pictures or papers were not to pass them out to the audience. There were many people from all over Wyoming, and even some from surrounding states with concerns.

Some people said they were disappointed that their time ran out and they still had so much to say. As one gentleman took the microphone, he was very stern in pointing out the fact that we are all dictated by congress and maybe that’s were we should begin. Some people who attended were concerned about land, some with water, others about species and some just gave their opinions. Many wanted their statements heard in hopes of having changes made.

The session was a success in that everyone who approached the microphone could be heard. Many will be awaiting a reply to the concerns addressed during the session.

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