United Property Owners of Montana Files Suit Against FWP on Bison EIS

United Property Owners of Montana has filed suit against the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (“FWP”) seeking declaratory and injunctive relief related to violations of MEPA, MAPA, and environmental impact review requirements that occurred during the development and adoption of a recently-released Environmental Impact Statement related to free-roaming bison. “Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is determined to pursue this reckless free-roaming bison plan despite overwhelming opposition from the Montanans who would be impacted,” said Chuck Denowh, UPOM policy director. “The wild bison EIS released by FWP in January shows their disregard for local input. Someone has got to stand up for the Montanans whose way of life would be devastated by free-roaming bison—which is why...

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FWP Director to Counties: You don’t matter in wild bison decisions

Montana FWP Director Martha Williams had a stark message for Montana counties in her interview on the Voices of Montana Program this week.  When asked if FWP would comply with county ordinances related to bison management, Williams revealed that her Department had no intention of doing so. Voters in several Montana counties have enacted bison management ordinances, which require that all bison in the county, both domestic and wild, be tested for brucellosis, be branded or tagged and have their health status tracked.  Under these voter-enacted ordinances, entities that wish to graze bison in the county must have a management and conservation plan. Bison management ordinances have been popular in the counties that have been targeted by FWP and APR for massive free-roaming...

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Free-Roaming Bison EIS draws battle lines in Montana, and FWP is on the wrong side

The Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks is now formally recommending the introduction of free-roaming bison in Montana after the release of a long-awaited environmental impact statement. It’s a move that dramatically intensifies conflict over wildlife management in Montana. And worse, it’s a sobering message to the thousands of Montanans who provide habitat to wildlife. FWP has made clear it would rather advance the agenda of a radical, out-of-state environmental group—the American Prairie Reserve—than give even the barest amount of credence to the virtually unanimous opposition to free-roaming bison from Montana landowners. Let’s be clear about who is driving this process. The APR derives nearly all of its support from outside Montana. They are pushing a radical plan...

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In defense of William Perry Pendley

The hysterical reaction by the left to the appointment of William Perry Pendley to serve as director of the BLM deserves a response. The chief accusation against Pendley is that he will sell federal public land to “special interest allies.” He can’t. The director of BLM has absolutely no authority to unilaterally sell the land under his jurisdiction. The Federal Land Policy Management Act of 1976 specifically prohibits the BLM from selling land, with very narrow exceptions. If William Perry Pendley wanted to sell BLM lands, it would literally take an act of Congress to allow him to do so. The Pendley detractors saying our public lands are in jeopardy are either woefully misinformed or outright liars. Pendley is also being criticized for holding the apparently-controversial...

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Lieutenant Governor candidate Lesley Robinson an advocate for property rights

The addition of Phillips County Commissioner Lesley Robinson to Greg Gianforte’s ticket for governor is a welcome one for Montana ranchers.  Robinson has been a lead advocate for property rights and local control in Northeastern Montana where several NGOs have been collaborating with Montana FWP to establish a free-roaming bison herd.  Gianforte’s pick could bring more attention to the issue, which would be welcome as the vast majority of Montanans oppose establishing free-roaming bison herds when they learn that private landowners would be forced to host the animals on their property and absorb the cost of any damage they cause. We want to extend a big Thank You to Greg Gianforte for showing genuine concern for agriculture and property rights.  And good luck in the race Le...

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A heartfelt thank you from one of our members

We received the following thank you note in response to Mark Robbins’ recent opinion piece in the Billings Gazette, shared in its entirety below: Dear Mark: I want to offer a big, heart-felt thank you for your well-written article in the Billings Gazette re: “Don’t transport bison out of Yellowstone Park”, Feb. 18, 2016. And of course, in true Billings Gazette/’Pravda’ fashion, it was followed by a Gazette opinion on Feb. 20th, ‘Fort Peck ready to quarantine Yellowstone bison’.  Yes, sometimes it seems it never will end, but anyone who can THINK, sees the truth in what you say, and the utter fallacies proposed by the Gazette. As landowners/farmers in that area of Fort Peck, the bison issue has been a constant presence for more years than I...

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