Bush budget aims to help western wildlife, especially Wyoming, but . . .
In part due to the impacts of energy development in the West, the new proposed budget by President Bush allocates $22 million to restore and protect wildlife habitat in seven Western states. Of that $11.5 million is to go to Wyoming where energy development impacts have been the greatest.
AP Story in the Billings Gazette. Bush’s wildlife habitat plan emphasizes Wyoming
However, buried in a separate Gazette story, this one about the Wyoming budget in-the-making, it is reported that governor Freudenthal has proposed to put $45 million into the state’s Wildlife Trust Fund, and that has been cut to $6 million under the state legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee’s recommendations. Budget Story.
It’s good to keep your eye on the entire political landscape.
Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.
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The main reason the Joint Appropriations Committee is being so skimpy with the Wildlife Trust Fund is to make sure there’s never enough money in the corpus to generate enough money to purchase land for wildlife habitat. It’s the typical agicultural conceit that land taken out of agricultural production is taken out of production. There’s also the prejudice against government ownership of the land, land which is subject to the public trust rather than private greed.
Of course, exactly the opposite is true about production. When land is purchased for wildlife habitat, its productive capacity is re-oriented toward wildlife–toward ecological production rather than agricultural production.
Agriculture has yet to adopt an ecological perspective on land productivity and what, and who, it’s really for: all species, not just ours.
How much money is put into wildlife funds by other states?