Sunday, March 19, 2017

Killing The Clean Water Act: A Sportsmen's Nightmare

Take a good look, clean, healthy, full of trout cricks such as this are under almost daily assault from our newly elected President and his gang of GOP enablers hell bent to remove any and all protections and, worse, the agencies currently bound to protect them.

 With newly elected Trump as President and the GOP controlling Congress and 60 % Republican governors,  I wrote an opinion piece for the Northwest Outdoor Writers Association, of which I am a longtime member and newsletter editor extolling the new powers that be extreme bias against clean air, water and soil, the scam to transfer our public lands to the states and the eventual inevitable sale to private interests, yada, yada.  Since this isn’t my first rodeo I  hardly expected the entire NOWA membership to stand-up and cheer. But since we are ya know supposed to be OUTDOOR WRITERS/PHOTOGRAPHERS/OUTDOOR FILM MAKERS n RADIO BROADCASTERS, etc.—you can imagine my surprise at the outrage some expressed. Calling me, among other nasty tags, an extreme left-wing Cool Aid guzzler. Imagine. Anyone who knows me knows I not only hate Cool Aid, strongly favor bourbon, I also have no time for any politician left, right, upside down, inside out or otherwise who does not strongly support the few issues matter to me—clean air, water and soil, sound wildlife/fisheries  and habitat management, leave your grubby paws off my public lands and don’t even think of blocking access to same. 

Sorry folks, I am way too old to fret the rest of it.

So ya name callin’ jerks, we’re now but two months into it and hardly a day  passes without another  blow to protections for the air we breath, the water we, the fish and wildlife drink; the public lands we hunt and fish, camp, bike, hike, bird watch, you name it, no permission needed, just park the truck and go; our National Parks, Monuments and Wildlife Refuges, from the Trump and/or his GOP congressional enablers.
“But the real haymaker came the week before when President Trump ordered his administration to begin rolling back the Clean Water Rule, an Obama Administration initiative supported by sportsmen, conservation groups, and public health officials. Also known as The Waters of the U.S. rule—Trump labeled it a “horrible, horrible rule—has such a nice name, but everything about it is bad, “and was “one of the worst examples of federal regulation” and “a massive power grab.”

“To the contrary is among the most vetted, scientifically sound, careful examples of rulemaking in the nation’s history.” Some believe it is so sound Trump’s allies might spend years trying to dismantle it—and still fail.
“In truth his action is nothing but a unabashed gift to a few supporters which  is sure to hurt t a majority of Americans—especially sportsmen. If passed it will remove protections for more than 20 million acres of wetlands critical to a wide range of wildlife from trout to waterfowl; as well as, 60 percent of the nation’s streams, and affect safe drinking water for more than 100 million Americans.”
Below is a brief history of how the Clean Water Act came to be.

The  1972 Clean Water Act included protections for wetlands as well as streams and lakes—including entire watersheds and aquifers.   The agencies—EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers—extended  protections to include isolated and seasonal wetlands—prairie potholes, riparian areas, etc.—proven contributors to the overall health of watersheds and aquifers.

But as we sportsmen know all too well, the crooked bastards don’t give up easily. “And in 2006 the Supreme Court sided with a developer and threw out regulations on isolated and temporary wetlands, claiming Congress did not specifically include those habitats in the original ACT. The majority opinion said such wetlands could only be protected if a “nexus” existed between those and regular flowing waterways – the waters of the United States.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Greg Gianforte Is Not Our Friend

Decoying antelope on public lands in southwest Montana, no access fee, no begging landowners, just park the truck and take a hike...can't beat it.

In 2016, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle asked gubernatorial candidate, Greg Gianforte, his position on transferring ownership of Public Lands to the state.

I am opposed to deed transfer at this time, because I don’t think it’s attainable.

Now the GOP nominee to fill Ryan Zinke’s vacated post it seems not much has changed.

Using rhetoric that echoes land transfer zealots, former state senator, Debbie Barrett and her pal, current state Sen. Jennifer Fielder, he then ran through a laundry list of complaints about federal public land management to support an argument for why he’d rather see this land managed by the state. He then veered way off the reservation, from lauding state management to supporting a bizarre proposal for projects that would have county commissioners or “some new commission” to manage “federally-deeded lands.”

In other words, those of us—hunters, fishermen, guides, outfitters, campers, atvers, bikers, hikers, you name it—elect Gianforte to the House of Representatives and… If the political winds give him the chance we can, by God, kiss access to public lands good-by.

This might sound good to followers of the Bundys, but “local management” of  public lands is simply an unworkable idea. Just the cost of fighting wildland fires on an additional 27 million acres of public lands would put Montana’s taxpayers on the hook for a whopping $100 million in dry years. It would also come with many other costs that would, when added up, force the state to sell our public land to the highest bidder and/or prioritize resource extraction over public access.
Judging his financial support of the Property and Environment Research Center, this could very well be game plan. Backed handsomely by the fossil fuel industry (including the Koch brothers and other mega rich outside interests and landowners, such as the Wilks brothers, hell bent on building mega fiefdoms within the state, cutting access to public lands wherever possible), PERC has a long history of advocating for the privatization and industrialization of public land, going so far as to offer “a blueprint for auctioning off all public lands over 20 to 40 years.”

Obviously Gianforte is deaf the will of the majority of Montanans — nearly 60 percent, according to a recent poll — who adamantly oppose the idea of transferring our public lands to individual states. Obviously he is quick to turn a blind eye that public land in Montana generates $6 billion annually, including $403 million in tax revenue, and accounts for 64,000 jobs across the state. More importantly, public land provides the outdoor way of life that defines who we are as Montanans.
Montana GOP, which passed a resolution in 2014 to “support granting federally managed public lands to the states,” would also do well to remember what public land means to Montanans.

When we go to the polls, May 25th, we can send a strong message to all Montana politicians either honor and unequivocally support, retention of our public land and the gifts public land provides or take a hike. Our Public Lands are the birthright and we Montanans have NO inkling of ever allowing you greedy, land-grabbing, self-serving politicians to steal it.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Idaho Public Lands Rally

Organizers said roughly 3,000 people attended Saturday’s rally at the Idaho Capitol. Participants included hunters, bikers, rafters, hikers, bikers, and bird-watchers. Image courtesy of Kate Thorpe, Idahoans for Public lands.
One of the largest public land rallies in recent memory brought together the many diverse groups that value access to the outdoors—and are prepared to fight for it
Nearly 3,000 people rallied in support of public lands on the steps of the Capitol in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday, and their diversity was a powerful statement about the importance of the outdoors. It was a mosaic of individual interests as unique as Idaho itself.
There was an angler in full regalia talking to the rafter who had a polite sign affixed to his paddle that he constantly waved over his head. It said, “Please leave my lands alone.” There were three elk hunting buddies who couldn’t not believe the size of the crowd. There were the grey beards of Idaho’s small-but-potent environmental community, those people who knew Frank Church personally and have spent decades advocating for the outdoors. The endurance running community was there—the wiry kin who can run Idaho’s tallest peaks by lunch and then dance all night.

Four newspapers, three television stations, and two radio stations joined bloggers and volunteers watching the vast crowd spill into Jefferson Street. The rally was an effort that the TRCP was proud to help coordinate. It was a non-denominational celebration of the happiness that we all attain pursuing our own diverse adventures in the outdoors.
But the day’s diversity was only half the day’s story. In the rain on Idaho Day, those diverse groups gave voice to one cause: keeping public lands in public hands.

For rest of story please visit:


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Imminent Death of the Waters of the U.S. Rule

Fly Fishing the upper Galatin River...non navigable so better try it afore too late..Chuck Robbins photo
Just home from what turned out to be a wonderful 8 week sojourn, camping on public lands, enjoying nightly campfires with long-time friends, chasing quail about the Arizona desert with Gale, Annie and Maggie my internet machines began to buzz like angry rattlers with the sorry news President Trump had signed yet another another wild, off the wall, executive order, to “get rid of the Waters of the U.S. Rule” which, given the track record of our whacked out Congress will certainly get tossed out with all the fanfare of the baby's wash; certainly “destroy the Clean Water Act” and "open the door for an American descent into a kind of new wave Chinese-level hell of pollution, fish kills, dead rivers, and blue ruin."
For the rest of this sorriest of tragedies being almost daily tossed out by Trump and his greedy, thieving, land grabbing cronies please visit  http://www.fieldandstream.com/imminent-death-waters-us-rule/  courtesy Hal Herring and Field and Stream.
And while you're at it (if you dare) read the rest of Conservationist Blogs...though you might want to take a seat first...