"Closed due to COVID-19" by weaverphoto is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Coronavirus shutdown exposes need for regulatory takings legislation in Montana

Keeping Montanan small businesses afloat during the coronavirus shutdown was one of the most important actions taken by our federal government. The relief package kept many people working and may prevent, in the long term, the closure of thousands of businesses. Some have characterized the relief for business owners as “bailouts.” They’re not. A bailout is a government handout to businesses that lost money due to their own mismanagement. The government bailed out financial institutions during the 2008 financial crisis. That’s not what’s happening today. The businesses receiving relief are not in financial trouble due to any fault of their own. They’re in financial trouble because government has forced them to shut down. The government’s relief package is a recognition that those...

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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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UPOM Releases 2019 Legislative Scorecard

The analysis includes a summary of the legislative efforts impacting property rights throughout the session and recognizes those elected officials who went above and beyond in working to protect private property rights. “Overall it was a positive session for property owners,” remarked UPOM Policy Director, Chuck Denowh. “We saw fewer overall attacks on individual property rights and we were able to successfully kill the bad bills that were introduce. The most significant win this session was the passage of House Joint Resolution 28 asking the BLM to deny the American Prairie Reserve’s application to change the grazing permits on 13 allotments in central Montana.” HJ 28 was a key piece of legislation that aims to prevent the APR from gaining ground in their pursuit to establish a free-roaming...

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