MT Stockgrowers ask Court to stop new more generous bison arrangement

The Stockgrowers want to stop decision to let bison wanderly freely outside Park near Horse Butte-

In the comments today people are already discussing this lawsuit. So here is the AP article by Matthew Brown.

Court asked to stop Yellowstone bison arrangement. Billings Gazette. By Matthew Brown. AP



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  1. Chuck Avatar

    Someone needs to tell these welfare MT Stockgrowers to get a life, these bison were here long before them. If they can’t make it own their own (stockgrowers), then am sure the local walmart could use some new greeters at their stores.

  2. brian ertz Avatar

    Perhaps $100000 to each affected rancher would be enough to buy their “tolerance” for native wildlife.

  3. JimT Avatar

    More of the same from the welfare ranching crowd. No effort whatsoever to live with other species. And this one is much better suited for these shores than those damned English imports they run.

    Revoke the leases, buy them out, tell them to go become bankers. That way, they could just continue to get handouts from the “guvment”…

  4. Jon Way Avatar

    But BE,
    then they would need something else to whine about and another ploy to push off on the taxpayers. But yes, your plan would actually be the most cost effective in the long-run if this minority of folks actually did shut up!

  5. JimT Avatar

    You need to get rid of their permits, plain and simple, if this problem is going to go away for bison and other species who need large geographic areas for healthy populations. No amount of payoffs are going to stop this travesty. The Supreme Court has repeatedly said grazing is a privilege, not a right, and yet the local ranchers, the Cattleman’s Association, and the western politicians act as if these permits have somehow morphed into rights. It makes no logical or legal sense, but somehow this myth continues. It needs to be stopped. The Public Range Improvement Act, along with FLMPA, makes it more difficult that it should be, but the Secretary can revoke leases, or condemn them, I believe. There is a snowball’s chance that Salazar will do something like that UNLESS there is concerted and constant pressure from the citizen groups around Yellowstone to make it happen.

  6. Salle Avatar

    I think JimT is right.

    And I don’t know of many other livelihoods or jobs where you can constantly fail, year after year, and still have your job saved by the taxpayers ~ and drive around in brand new pickup trucks. All this based on some dime-store novel romanticized pipe-dream that is called upon to to play the victim card over and over again to get funded year after year. The cattle just has to go, plain and simple. These whiners can be retrained to become USEFUL and PRODUCTIVE members of society, just like all the displaced factory workers and others are expected to do in this economic downturn…

  7. vickif Avatar

    paying them would no more buy their silence than duct taping their mouths shut. After they spent it, like most people who get a windfall of money, they’d have sqwat to show for it and would be right back to putting their hands out.

  8. brian ertz Avatar

    Jon – make it a million dollars per affected rancher and maybe we’ll even get a seat at the table ! I wouldn’t worry so much about the potential of such a bribe to inflict hardship on ranchers’ conjuring up reasons to whine though – it’s like second nature – they’ve got plenty of natural world to blame their hardships on

    As to the assertion that grazing “rights” are priveleges – Grazing permits are priveleges in fact but seem to be (absurdly) “rights” in practice. JimT, it isn’t even really all that difficult to revoke the permits, it just can’t be arbitrary. They’ll cite “multiple-use” obligation or an RMP or Forest Plan (which is where an argument might be contrived as to derivation of statutory obligation via rules & regs) but ultimately it’s hogwash. FS & BLM have complete discretion to revoke permits given respective rules & regs ~ via failure to make significant progress toward standards; conflict with bison or sage grouse, pygmy rabbit, cutthroat, wolves, hydrology, habitat (whatever wildlife, fish, system, cultural artifact or whatever) is affected (and there’s not really a place where livestock does not contribute to conflict with one or more of these public values) is enough to justify a decision to revoke a permit pursuant to any number of statutory obligations – this it avoids falling I to the label of “arbitrary” – especially when agency makes the decision and enjoys deference – yet, it is never done. Sadly, district decision-makers I’ve talked to aren’t even aware of their own authority or are wholly unwilling to exercise it even after standing with you in severely abused landscape after severely abused landscape you’ve brought them to with their heads in their hands shaking in shame.

    It seems like the only way to get the message across that this use of the public resource is a privelege would be to start exersizing that discretion, especially with regard to the most egregious abuses. That would bring awareness to others that it is able to be done & send a signal to the associations that it’s time to get real. But the culture won’t allow it and these folks got no backing up the chain even if they were willing.

    On the Stockgrowers – These guys think they can litigate to stop the expansion of habitat for bison on unoccupied (by livestock) habitat citing adjacent grazed lands? Seems like they’d better be hoping that any new decisions that come down on their permits on those adjacent allotments have damn good analysis about effects to every critter in the forest ’cause it’s been pretty weak thus far – flagrant violations on the Gallatin NF & BLM isn’t any better. I guess they haven’t had much oversight. It seems like all the The Stockgrowers are doing is drawing attention to the need to bring oversight and legal pressure to the public landscapes/livestock allotments that they’re now using to gin up “conflict” with bison.

    I agree with JimT, payoffs only feed into the Livestock entitlement-complex and IMO, become part of the problem unless it’s a permanent buy-out.


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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Ralph Maughan