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It’s Called Leadership

Written by Dennis Sun

The Fourth of July is now behind us, and we at the Roundup hope everyone had a safe and happy weekend while you honored our nation.

As I’ve said before, news has been coming out of Washington, D.C. at a fast pace so far this summer, both good and not so good. But there has been some good news also from right here in our region, as both the grizzly bear and the wolf have been delisted. Both have been a long time coming, as animal populations and assurances from the affected states both warranted delisting. Now that they are both delisted, we are all waiting for lawsuits to be filed.

A number of advocates for the grizzly bear have already filed notice that they are prepared to sue to reverse the bears’ recent removal from the endangered species list. I’ve read where the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, among other Tribes, the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians and The Humane Society of the U.S. are among the groups that have filed a 60-day notice of intent to block the move to delist by suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. What in the world is The Humane Society jumping in for?

Well, of course, we all know that suing the government is a great way to generate dollars for these groups. A number of Native American Tribes have joined together to try to get the grizzly bear listed again, a move some say would gain them some dollars in the long run.

I imagine, first, these groups would gain by receiving donations and, second, by getting money from the government under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). Who can blame them? This strategy has worked before.

The debate over the fate of both the wolf and the grizzly bear is a long one, despite the increasing numbers in the Northern Rocky Mountains. With hunting seasons planned for both species outside of national parks, the debate is sure to go on. But, as with everything out there, the numbers have to be managed. The advocates cannot just say, “We want all we can get.”

These debates and lawsuits only prove that the Endangered Species Act doesn’t work. Through lawsuits and opinions, the current law is nowhere near the intent of the first written law. It is now a broken law, and it needs to be fixed.

Leadership was displayed in 2015 by Wyoming’s Gov. Matt Mead as the chairman of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) and the other western governors as they launched the Western Governors’ Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative. Gov. Mead, through his leadership made it a top priority for WGA while he was chairman, and it was recently supported at the latest conference under the current chairman, the governor of Montana. A policy resolution was adopted at the meeting in Montana. The discussion and action by WGA has stirred discussion and action nationwide.

The issue is in WGA’s backyard and ours. We applaud their actions and hope Congress catches on as Wyoming’s Congressional Delegation has. It’s called leadership.