State of Montana wants to give them to Ted Turner

Buffalo in quarantine - Kim Acheson

Buffalo in quarantine - Kim Acheson

As is typical with this issue, the State of Montana has set up a false dichotomy with the bison in the quarantine program. They say that the bison need to be given to billionaire Ted Turner or slaughtered because they have no other options. This is nonsense.

As I have discussed before, there are other options including working with the Fort Belknap Reservation to locate the quarantined buffalo there, placing them back into the Park, or placing them on a state wildlife refuge, all of which would keep these bison in the public domain which was required under the plan. If Ted Turner receives these 78 buffalo he wants 190 of their progeny in return for his own commercial operations which also violates the agreement with the National Park Service to keep them in the public domain.

“There’s land in Montana,” said Stephany Seay with the Buffalo Field Campaign. “The alternatives are not Turner or slaughter. But that’s what we are being fed.”

Activists call for bison on state land
By DANIEL PERSON Chronicle Staff Writer

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About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

7 Responses to Activists call for bison on state land

  1. Robert Hoskins says:

    I’ll have more to say about this later, but I note that the National Parks Conservation Association is now on record as supporting the Turner proposal, also accepting the lie that the only options are Turner or slaughter. You can now remove the word “conservation” from this capitulatory group’s name.

    I wonder how much money NPCA gets from Turner.


  2. Ken Cole says:

    Stephany used to work for NPCA. I wonder why she left? 😉

  3. Robert Hoskins says:

    I’m glad she did.


  4. JB says:

    Those bison–including their offspring–belong to the people of the state of Montana. It is Montana’s duty to manage them in such a way as best serves the interest of its citizens. This action should be litigated.

  5. Save bears says:

    I agree, this is one of those situations that belong in the courts.

  6. Robert Hoskins says:

    Believe me, we’re working on the legal angle.

    Here’s a letter I just sent out to various hunting groups and politicos in Montana:

    “This decision to hand Quarantine Feasibility Study (QFS) bison over to Turner Enterprises, INC (TEI) is both illegal and immoral; it’s pure politics.

    “1. There are legal problems with the bid process (illegally rewriting the original Request for Proposals [RFP] of 17 June 2009 to meet Turner’s demands for privatization of offspring for commercial purposes, primarily breeding).

    “2. There are legal problems with dropping the no commercialization/no privatization criteria written into the 17 June 2009 RFP (these criteria were established in previous post-Environmental Assessment decision notices issued under the Montana Environmental Policy Act regarding QFS bison).

    “3. There are legal problems with FWP authority to hand these bison over to TEI (no specific statutory authority to privatize/commercialize public wildlife exists for FWP; general authority statutes in Title 87 won’t cut it under the common law of the public trust. As a strict matter of law, there must be a specific grant of authority from the legislature to FWP to privatize wild bison, as already exists for DOL at MCA 81-2-120. However, there is a public trust problem with this grant of authority to DOL, but I’ll leave that for another time).

    “4. There are legal problems with FWP assertions of authority in general over QFS bison (the research permit from Yellowstone National Park to take wild bison from the Park to the QFS facility was granted to APHIS, not to FWP, and both YNP and APHIS retain authority over disposition of those bison, especially as the research permit authorizes disposition of QFS bison only to public or tribal lands, not to private landowners).

    “5. There are legal problems with the proposal ultimately because it violates the public trust duty of the State of Montana, which came to Montana as an irrevocable aspect of sovereignty upon Statehood, a duty as well as a right, to protect public resources against the rapacity of private interests as well as the negligent failure of individual public officials/agencies to defend the trust against private interests, as their duty requires.

    “In short, this decision violates a whole host of laws and regulations, and it also undermines the North American Model of Wildlife Management to which we as hunters are absolutely committed–I hope.

    “As for the immorality of it, we’ve heard time and time again from all concerned that the purpose of the QFS is to produce disease-free bison for use in restoring wild bison to the public or tribal landscape. Further, all documents prior to the current round of EA and RFPs make it clear that the no privatization/no commercialization criteria will apply to all recipients of QFS bison; these earlier QFS documents are legally binding upon FWP. Finally, we also have a promise from the QFS investigators (see the original QFS proposal by Keith Aune and Jack Rhyan) that recipients of QFS bison would be identified and secured by the beginning of Phase III of the QFS so that they could get ready for phase IV dispositions. FWP has failed to identify and secure legal recipients, although it’s had five years to do it in. That failure is sheer negligence on the part of FWP.

    “In sum, these criteria and promises have been broken–deliberately so, in my view, as the livestock industry opposes wild bison upon the landscape, and it’s the livestock industry calling the shots of wild bison (mis)management. In a sense, the entire QFS has been a fraud. Well, since the brucellosis problem in general is actually the brucellosis fraud–that is, the fraud is the determination of the livestock industry to use bison “disease control” to cover the true purpose of bison (mis)management, which is to keep wild bison off the landscape so they won’t compete with domestic cattle–who’s surprised?

    “We are being lied to, and the public trust is being spit upon.

    “We need to understand that the only reason this deal is going forward is that the Governor has cut a deal with Ted Turner, for reasons and future benefits as yet unrevealed, and has ordered FWP to undertake this illegal process regardless of legal problems or consequences to the public interest. But we also need to understand that just because Brian Schweitzer is the governor of Montana doesn’t give him the right to break the law or violate the public trust. He’s done both.

    Robert Hoskins”

  7. Save bears says:

    Glad to hear it Robert, thank you for your efforts and posting your information.


January 2010


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey