‘Occupy’ for Public Lands & Wildlife

Should public land and wildlife advocates stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street movement ?

Many reasons for discontent

The Occupy Wall Street (#OWS) movement is growing across the country and world despite the Mainstream Media’s best executed attempts to ignore, minimize, and obscure its common voice.  Similarly, messaging from the powers-that-be continues to suggest that the demonstrators aren’t even crystal clear on what they’re demonstrating.  Not true.

They never quite get to the part explaining that a great deal of the beauty of this groundswell is in the solidarity of its message despite the broad diversity of interests engaged in its expression.

The disproportionate privilege enjoyed by the few in this country unjustly affects the middle-class, students, labor, minorities, and yes : our natural environment and shared public values – i.e. the few who hold power always seem to trump the will of the many.  That’s not what democracy is supposed to represent.  It seems to me pretty clear that this inequality is what’s being protested.

Unlike the Tea-baggers, who enjoyed a great deal of media coverage and supportive speculation regarding a political agenda that favored far-right anti-government/regulation interests, the #OccupyWallStreet movement continues to be pooh-poohed by talking-heads and media pundits as disorganized, lacking a specific agenda, yada…yada…yada…  Criticisms such as these do little more than carry the 1%ers water in seeking to highlight disparate interests, to crack the commonality of the movement among a broad and growing number of citizens who are standing in solidarity against a skewed political system ultimately responsible for a diversity of grievances.  If we’re different we’re less likely to stand together – or that’s what they’re hoping at least.

Where should this leave public land and wildlife advocates ?

It puts us right in the middle.

We’re the same.  Will Potter via Green is the New Red generally calls out environmentalists and animal rights activists explaining 5 Reasons Why Environmentalists and Animal Activists Should Occupy Wall Street :

The first official Declaration of the Occupation of New York City articulated some of the many facets of this movement, including environmental and animal rights concerns. Here are a few highlights:

“As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies..

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices…

They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil…

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit…”

The Sierra Club has recently jumped on board sending an email message to its staff and activist members encouraging their participation in Occupy Wall Street protests as representatives of the Club:

TO:  Sierra Club Staff and Volunteers
FR:  Sarah Hodgdon, Conservation Director and Dave Scott, Vice President for Conservation

For the past several weeks Occupy Wall Street protesters have peacefully held vigil in support of a broad vision for financial, political, and environmental reform in America. From this creative hub of activity, a diverse group of students, members of labor unions, environmentalists, and concerned citizens have helped this grassroots protest spread to more than 1,400 events nationwide. Many Sierra Club staff and volunteer leaders have participated in and/or lent support to these demonstrations standing up for the end to corporate greed. The demands and values of the protesters are very much in line with Sierra Club’s strategic priority of confronting the power of the coal and oil industries.

Volunteer leads and staff around the country have requested that we make clear where the Sierra Club stands on these protests. This memo is designed to provide our initial thinking and guidance.

In a vibrant democracy, peaceful protest and demonstration is among the highest form of citizen engagement in the democratic process. Since the founding of our republic, ordinary citizens have accomplished extraordinary things by joining together to express their convictions. It is our heritage to speak truth to power, and our nation’s historic respect for peaceful dissent has helped the United States enact civil rights legislation, promote human rights internationally, and end unjust wars. Citizen engagement has brought this country out of its darkest hours and helped us fulfill our promises of justice and equality to millions.

The Sierra Club affirms its support for the exercise of political expression through the Occupy Wall Street protests. Corporations that pollute our air, land and water, that put greed ahead of community good, public health and the nation’s economic well-being must be held fully accountable. In our work around the country, we have seen first-hand how international coal and oil companies have wrecked communities, polluted our environment, and dominated the political process. We stand with Occupy Wall Street protesters in saying “enough.”

Finally, we want to make clear to all Sierra Club staff and volunteers, that you are authorized to participate in lawful and peaceful Occupy Wall Street protests in the name of the Sierra Club.

The corporate accountability message these protests are carrying fits very well with our strategic priority of confronting the power of coal and oil and contribute to our strategic priorities of building a movement and fostering key partnerships. We will shortly be providing further message guidance and support materials to help the Sierra Club add its voice to this powerful choir.

Citizens supporting wolves, wildlife, public lands, etc. ought similarly feel galvanized by the protests springing up all over the country – and we should participate.

The same general grievance – the disparity in political influence between the 1% and the 99% of the rest of us – no doubt holds true of Western public land and wildlife policy.  We’ve written time and time again about public land and wildlife in the West being held in common, as a public asset – it belongs to all of us – the many (99%ers).  Yet, a marginal few (1%ers) disproportionately control public policy directing its management (and exorbitant subsidies) to enrich themselves at the expense of the wild that all of us might otherwise better enjoy.  Think the recent legislative delisting of wolves, the many political insults to bighorn sheep (where a few individual ranchers have moved congress to act on their behalf to the detriment of wild-sheep and their many interested allies), Big Energy’s modern-day land-rush, horses, fish … you name the public environmental interest issue that hasn’t been trumped by the politically privileged few who hold control over public natural resource policy in the West.  It’s the few vs. the many:

Percentage of U.S. cattle producers ranching on all western public lands: 1.9%
Percentage of U.S. Population ranching on western public lands: 0.012%
Percentage of BLM forage controlled by top twenty BLM permittees: 9.3%
Percentage of all BLM permittees represented by top twenty BLM permittees: 0.1%

Excerpt from Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West – Wuerthner & Matteson

The numbers are staggering.  The public land mass degraded by private/corporate livestock in the West is an area the size of three Californias.  The land used to directly run livestock in the West is just over a quarter of the total U.S. land-mass (excluding Alaska) and they do so at next to free while collecting between $500 million – $1 billion in direct and indirect tax-payer subsidies.

The same holds true with so many natural resource industries.  The land and natural resource belongs to all of us, but access and management disproportionately favor commercial exploitation, profit, and uses that rob the many to benefit the few.

Find an ‘Occupy’ event near you (or start one !).  Think of a nifty catch-phrase that illuminates the plight of the natural world at the hands of the 1%ers. Get a piece of cardboard and a sharpie.  Find a group of friends all interested in wildlife and put together a performance !  Show up and have fun talking to like-minded people whose diverse grievances all derive from a common inequity and let’s push to make sure that wildlife and public lands are heard.



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  1. jdubya Avatar

    I agree with these sentiments Brian but sitting downtown in a public park just isn’t the venue for it. Maybe the gates of Yellowstone would be more appropriate.

    1. Brian Ertz Avatar

      perhaps the gates of Yellowstone would better illuminate our specific grievance … good … let’s put something together ~ ‘Occupy Yellowstone’. but let’s add our voice downtown in a public park too … let’s demonstrate solidarity … where there exists a gathering of people all joined in a common pursuit of dismantling the systemic inequity ultimately responsible for each of our individual grievances … with this – i don’t see venue as a prohibitive factor, or even a deterrent. if union reps are able to look past the corporate talking-points and sit down with enviros – i think it’s ok to join the chorus – find and act on the commonality. let’s bring wildlife to the existing conversation in addition to expending energy and effort starting a new one.

      1. Maska Avatar

        If we don’t get the message out that not all of the 99% have only two legs, we are missing a bet. That said, we’ll be heading to Albuquerque tomorrow and will join the group at UNM tomorrow evening. I agree with Brian: “…let’s bring wildlife to the existing conversation….”

        1. Demarcated Landscapes Avatar

          Thank you, Maska, for reminding us all about the four legged, the eight-legged, the finned, and the rooted. So important!

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan

    Private landlords are trying to shutdown the on-going public protest, Occupy Wall Street, in New York City. The parks that occupiers are using are private parks.

    I’d bet, however, that if folks tried to peacefully occupy any part of a national park for the purpose of expressing their First Amendments rights, the government would slap them down and quickly.

      1. Dude, the bagman Avatar
        Dude, the bagman

        Who would you rather mess with if you were a cop – the angry armed group or the kumbaya unarmed group?

        I’m being facetious. Of course the cops wouldn’t mess with the tea-baggers. Them’s there kinda people.

        1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


          Some of the police understand that the Tea Party would really rather have a private police force (a private army) to make the world safer for the top 1%. One of the things they (tea party) wants to do is cut the police force numbers and reduce or take away their pensions and bargaining rights.

          Of course, we saw this play out in Wisconsin and the police mostly did not take Governor Walker’s poison bait.

          Not realizing it, I also overheard a group of Idaho State Police in a restaurant discussing how their jobs/careers were on the chopping block under Governor Otter and the band of tea partiers in the Idaho state legislature.

          Will enough of the police figure out whether their interest is on the side of the great majority of folks or in carrying out the orders of the corrupt economic elite?

          1. Paul Avatar

            I had a front row seat to the game that Walker was playing. It was a typical divide and conquer strategy. He exempted the police and firefighters from the collective bargaining for two reasons. First he was afraid of rioting after he “dropped the bomb” on the public sector unions and announced that he was taking away collective bargaining and forcing non-protective services to pay more towards their pensions and insurance. The second goal of exempting police and firefighters was to create animosity among the unions. This second goal generally backfired because the police and firefighter unions sided with the public sector unions. This was smart on their part because they know that they are next. I also think that if the police and firefighter unions did not side with the other public sector unions the protests would not have been as peaceful as they were. The cops that I work with are under no illusions that Walker is on their side. They know that their plush benefits are going to be next on the chopping block if Walker gets more of his agenda passed.

            The only exception is the WI State Patrol. There is a reason that Walker appointed the father of the Senate Majority Leader to head the State Patrol. He knows that they provide his security and he wanted a crony running that agency.

            At least where I work most of us want to see Walker recalled ASAP.

          2. Paul Avatar

            I was wrong about the State Patrol providing all of Walker’s security. The WI Capitol Police has primary responsibility for his security, with the WSP in a secondary role.

          3. Dude, the bagman Avatar
            Dude, the bagman

            “Will enough of the police figure out whether their interest is on the side of the great majority of folks or in carrying out the orders of the corrupt economic elite?”

            Well, they only have to be treated a little better than everyone else. Deprivation is relative. A falling tide sinks all boats.

            While you and Paul are right that it’s probably in their best interest to side with the majority of citizens, I don’t think they’re in much danger of becoming unemployed. If the economy keeps getting worse, that will create desperation. Desperation will create more criminals. There will always be jobs for police in private security or private prisons. After all, it’d take a large security force to protect the economic elite from the growing surplus population.

  3. Ken Cole Avatar

    More criminals doesn’t translate into more police, especially with an obstructionist legislature that doesn’t want to pay for anything.

    1. Paul Avatar

      The trend that I have noticed at least in WI is consolidation of services between local and country governments. Many municipal police agencies are contracting their services out to sheriff’s departments and eliminating their police forces. After almost 14 years I am losing my position as an emergency services dispatcher because our local dispatch center is being eliminated and transferring services to our county. Even though the local government is saving hundreds of thousands by getting rid of us they want even more cuts from the lower rungs of the police department. The problem with that is that for a department our size we are one of the most top heavy in the state, yet they want us little people to lose our jobs while they get pay raises. The upper echelon in this country is far out of touch with the general population and it is only getting worse.

      I hope that this “occupy” movement catches on with the general public and not just with the “professional protesters” that we are seeing now. That is what was great about the WI protests in the spring. It was mostly middle class people from all walks of life that got together and peacefully protested the agenda of Koch brother puppets like Walker and his cronies in the legislature. Of course you did have the professional protester element involved but it was mostly the average citizens who rallied by the thousands. This is what should be used a the blueprint for the “occupy” rallies, not the gathering of hippies and commie wannabees that we are currently seeing.

      1. Brian Ertz Avatar

        “hippies and commie wannabees” ? not really. i think this stereotype is being spread by media more than the reality on the ground.

        there have been pollsters publishing data on the demographics – which might surprise you.

        The Demographics Of Occupy Wall Street

        Who Occupies? A Pollster Surveys the Protesters

        1. Paul Avatar

          You are probably right that the media is mostly showing those types of people. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a great counterpoint to the Tea Party insanity we have seen over the past couple of years and I hope it spreads far and wide. I just hope they use the WI protests as a model of how to do it peacefully. Arrests and property damage only hurt the cause.

          1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

            There is a very big danger that some corporados or ideological groups will hire some people to incite violence. This is an old tactic called “agents provocateur.”

        2. Alan Avatar

          “And the rest, 70% call themselves independents….” Sounds a lot like the (usually) “silent majority”.

        3. Brian Ertz Avatar

          Poll: Most Americans Support Occupy Wall Street

          A new survey shows that Americans overwhelmingly support the self-styled Occupy Wall Street protests that not only have disrupted life in Lower Manhattan but also in Washington and cities and towns across the U.S. and in other nations. Some 59 percent of adults either completely agree or mostly agree with the protesters, while 31 percent mostly disagree or completely disagree; 10 percent of those surveyed didn’t know or refused to answer.

          What’s more, many people are paying attention to the rallies. Almost two-thirds of respondents–65 percent–said they’ve heard “a lot” or “some” about the rallies, while 35 percent have said they’ve heard or seen “not too much” or “nothing at all” about the demonstrations.

          1. Daniel Berg Avatar
            Daniel Berg

            The Occupy crowd does not have a common agenda that I can ascertain.

            In Seattle at Westlake, I’ve seen or listened to interviews from multiple local outlets and the folks who gave those interviews would be difficult for most americans to find common ground with beyond a superficial level.

            What the people in the polls are supporting is the idea of a group protesting against large corporate influence and the super rich. Once you get past that, enter the labryinth of diverging interests and opinions.

            It would be great if more environmental groups could network enough to get a large turnout in a public place that would draw attention. I haven’t personally seen a lot of coordination between groups in my area except at lower levels. I’ve asked multiple individuals who work for conservation groups full-time about Western Watersheds Project, and all were only vaguely familiar with the group even though WWP was involved in litigation affecting large tract of public land in Washington State only recently.

            Look at how effective unions can be at presenting a unified front. Why can’t environmentalists do the same thing on some level in a public fashion? Obviously unions don’t agree on everything and sometimes have diverging interests, but they sure do a good job backing each other up when it comes down to it.

        4. Anthony Criscola Avatar
          Anthony Criscola

          I was in NY on Oct 15th . To characterize the demonstration as hippies and commies is a sick joke………more John Q citizens than anything else.

    2. Dude, the bagman Avatar
      Dude, the bagman

      I wouldn’t say that they don’t want to pay for “anything.” Rather, they don’t want to pay for anything that doesn’t suit their immediate interests.

      Small government rhetoric aside, every politician likes pork. And I’m sure they’d be more than happy to spend whatever minimal tax money they take in on protecting their investments and profits. That means security of some sort.

      But really, we’ve entered bizarro world. Not only in politics, but in our conjecture about how all this volatility is going to shake out.

  4. Ken Cole Avatar

    I think there needs to be a constitutional amendment that reverses the Supreme Court’s decisions which classify corporations as people and allow the rich or corporations to give unlimited campaign contributions.

    1. David Avatar

      I believe that is one of their “demands”.


      Wouldn’t it be beautiful if this was successful!

      1. CodyCoyote Avatar

        Two things: if Corporations are in fact “people”, the entire corporation would be one person , right ? And isn;t there a limit to personal contribuitions to political campaigns of $ 2500 or such ?

        More importantly , each and every corporation needs to be chartered by a State… and I do mean state. So that implies that individual states have some sway and say over the activities of corporations . Maybe we should use our own statehouses as a mitigator in reining in corporations.

        Caveat: Wyoming, Delaware, Nevada are notorious for l’aissez faire incorporation laws . WHic is why so many cporations are chartered there. Corporations ( of the energy and mineral persuasion ) pretty much have their way in Wyoming and even right laws. But it doesn’t have to be that way .

        Occupy Your Statehouse.

        1. CodyCoyote Avatar

          p.s. Apology . I never did learn to type. I’m a poster boy for the need for better public education curricula at an early age… mandatory typing class, business, home economics, civics, language , math. I didn’t quite get it all.

          Conservatives really don’ like public education. All the more reason to support it.

          1. catbestland Avatar

            Nor do they like independent media or public forums like this where everyone can compare notes and start to come up with solutions to some of the imbalances

        2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

          Cody Coyote,

          You are right about the inconsistency of calling corporations “people.”

          The way it works in practice is the corporations seem to get the benefits of being a person when it is helpful to them, but then corporations become like a non-person when that helps them (such as being subject to the dollar limit on an individual person’s political donations).

          They are also an instance where a foreign person can give money to American campaigns.

          Apologists for them say, well, only the American division of the corporation can donate money. In saying that, however, they have split an artificial person into two or more artificial people. If every nation-state was as unwise as the United States Supreme Court, a corporation could be a citizen of as many countries as it (or is it a “he” or “she”) wanted.

  5. David Avatar

    I am really coming to love the OWS movement… As a libertarian, there are a few things I disagree with… redistribution of wealth,bailouts for student loans at private institutions… But EVERYTHING ELSE is right on the money, and I really like how Brian has tied it in to the BLM and corruption of Science in government. Well played!

    I do find it incredible that some continue to bash the teaparty with the mainstream media lines, while glossing over the flaws (or crazy elements) in the disorganized message of OWS.

    I believe the tea-party brought a valid perspective to the table, primarily less government spending. Wingnuts abound in any grassroots political movement, OWS is no exception. But even wingnuts can say things we can learn from if we listen, rather than shout them down.

    Let’s talk about uniting around the things we can agree on, rather than using every opportunity to highlight the differences between us and them. It’s about time the US government returned to its roots, BY the people, FOR the people.

  6. Ken Cole Avatar

    I think the austerity message of the tea party is wrong, especially now. I think that the government needs to be spending money on real people rather on programs that don’t benefit anyone other than those who don’t need it.

    There is another issue that I think is never really discussed outside of small groups and that is the human population and the consumption that comes with it. There are too many people and simply not enough resources and it is getting worse.

    While I like my standard of living I also realize that it is not sustainable for all 7 billion of us. There is no real answer to that problem because everyone wants a high standard of living and not everyone can have it. Most people on this planet make only a dollar or less a day and they will do almost anything to try to get by.

    1. Immer Treue Avatar
      Immer Treue


      ***There are too many people and simply not enough resources and it is getting worse.***

      This has been discussed ad nauseum. One does not wish war or pestilence on anyone or any group of people. The only thing that morally offers any assistance out of this exponetial growth morass is zero population growth.

      I think there are more and more people out there choosing not to have children, not because they are selfish, not because they hate people, but because they are cognitive of the fact that there is less out there for potential children, and these thinking folks would actually contribute to negative pop growth. Only problem, they are in a microscopic minority in terms of world community.

      1. Ken Cole Avatar

        And paradoxically, they are the one’s who’s children won’t benefit from zero population growth.

        While the human population grows logarithmically/exponentially (I can’t remember which it is) biology still applies. No population can grow in this fashion without crashing. When and how it happens is anyone’s guess but, voluntarily or not, it will happen.

      2. WM Avatar


        Zero population growth on a world scale is a difficult moral and political issue. The largest growth over the next 50 year planning horizon will be in Africa. Groups like the Bill Gates Foundation, PATH (a health organization) and others are engaged in activities to decrease infant mortality like providing birthing kits, clean water and sanitation. As Africa comes on line you can likely project even more poltical problems. You can count on more instability as populations rise, economic futures stagnate and tribal struggles for power increase. The human population as Ken suggests will likey crash at some point as everyone seeks a higher standard of living without the means to obtain or sustain it.

        Hard to contemplate, but maybe the only safety valves are a world war or fatal diseases that knock the population back to half what we have now. No, I am not advocating any of this, but if the human species is to survive are there other alternatives in light of what is happening?

        Ever read Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6?

        1. Immer Treue Avatar
          Immer Treue


          You’re preaching to the choir in terms of world population growth. Even going through some tough times here, by accident of where I was born, I feel quite thankful.

          Wars do little in terms of population control, as the global impacts are very small, and recover very quickly. Disease, on the other hand has the potential for, if not continental, global devastation in a short period of time. Antibiotic resistance, bacterial and viral mutations/evolution, climate change and the resulting insect/animal vectors, in concert with global travel, would provide the broth for the spread of any one of the multiple diseases that could deal a whole lot of whoop ass to the world population.

          No, I haven’t read Clancy’s Rainbow 6. After reading a number of his books, they seemed to become very formulaic. Is this one any different? As with Winter just around the corner, good reading is always welcome.

          1. WM Avatar

            I would not call Rainbow 6 particularly good reading for most (it is a testosterone loaded shoot em up, world on the edge of anihilation formula, which you accurately note is Clancy’s style), but the main plot that builds over the course of the novel is intriguing, and worthy of the time to explore it. Some Michael Crichton may have rubbed off on him for this one.

  7. Nancy Avatar

    Just heard a report on NBC that half of the work force in this country now pulls in about $26,000 a year and its trending downwards. While the figures of people making a million or more is up 18%. Interesting figures if correct.

  8. catbestland Avatar

    I think we should “occupy public lands” during grazing season. Leased allotments are still open to the public.

  9. mtn mamma Avatar
    mtn mamma

    I am excited by Occupy Wall Street. My question is, are their specific asking points that should be presented by the movement. For example, Ken’s point that the constitution be amended in regards to corporations & personhood. How should the group formulate its ideas to actually create change?

    1. Brian Ertz Avatar

      mtn mamma,

      it is largely decentralized but there are general assemblies gathering in new york and all across the country which are remarkably inclusive. official statements have been pretty general to keep with solidarity of a diversity of interests.

      you can visit http://www.nycga.net/ to see the new york city general assembly, the various organizing groups and the working drafts of various declarations and statements.

      you can visit http://www.occupytogether.org/ to find (or start) an event near you and participate in the formulation of more localized events, ideas, etc.

      it’s a groundswell – so stepping up to represent wildlife and public land issues in the context of this inequality will be up to folk like you and me – whether that just be showing up, or participating and establishing assemblies to formulate ideas

  10. Linda C Avatar
    Linda C

    I did carry a STOP GRAY WOLF HUNT sign in Philadelphia – but there was only me. I did get a positive response from co-protestors! These protests can have many facets – as long as it involves something the government is doing that is unsavory! The government threw our wolves under the bus for a political agenda to keep Jon Tester’s seat so we could maintain the Democratic majority – it was underhanded. The wolf was the first and only animal to be thrown off the Endangered Species List – NOT BASED ON SCIENCE – BUT FOR SPECIAL INTERESTS GROUPS AND POLITICAL AGENDA! Ranchers want to graze their cash cows on public lands – WOLF TERRITORY! Trophy hunters do not want to compete with wolves for prey animals – and, in fact, like to kill wolves as per their comments and photos. This is sickening that the wolves of the North West are paying with their blood for a budget cut and being brutalized first!

    1. WM Avatar

      Linda C,

      There is no more resilient species on the ESA than the wolf. At current populations in the NRM and WGL it has no business being on the ESA. Wolves were not thrown off the ESA for political reasons. It is their time for removal from it.

      The science shows recovery has occurred to sufficient levels for their removal, including very detailed and thorough analyses by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Rather it was the insistence of certain wolf advocates who want more wolves at higher density that have kept and are still trying to keep wolves on the ESA without good scientific reason.

      If wolves get a little thin in some areas they can always be moved around and added to new locations. The reintroduction to the NRM which in large part increased a population of about 66+ wolves (plus a few migrating into MT from Canada) into well over 2,000 with net take off each year of problems wolves by WS or hunting (illegal or legal), and wolves killing their own.

      Keeping wolves on the ESA in the NRM or WGL is simply not justified under the terms and conditions of the law itself, as well as against the wishes of many of the states which have them (and maybe want fewer of them).

      Maybe you should get some of your own wolves in PA, a little closer to home.

      1. Brian Ertz Avatar


        your refusal to acknowledge and accurately represent the motives and rationale of the wolf-advocacy groups who called “foul” on the delisting of wolves continues to astound. did i waste my time posting all those filings on both the rider litigation and the original lawsuit ? you may remember we won in front of a federal judge on summary judgement as to the illegality of the delisting rule … the questions presented spoke to the integrity and extent of protections afforded by the ESA – which we demonstrated prove to be above and beyond the narrow question of increased population (which wasn’t addressed either way – but you may remember was a matter of controversy). then they changed the law in an underhanded, anti-democratic usurpation of open public debate by attaching language to an unrelated appropriations bill.

        you may not agree with the motives of those involved in advocating for a robust enforcement of the Endangered Species Act on behalf of wolves – but your characterization of our pursuit is delivered either in bad faith (assuming you understand the issue) or from a position of ignorance (willful, it seems).

        1. WM Avatar

          Now Brian, settle down.

          I fully understand the issue, and my comments are not in bad faith.

          If you track my comments, they have been very consistent. Let’s revisit the suits. In the first one that challenged the delisting, advocates misrepresented the science. Do recall, the VonHoldt study, which was subsequently revisited by her and other authors after the ruling, to show the plaintiffs abused the conclusion that since there was supposedly no data on genetic connectivity with the Yellowstone data, there was none in the NRM. The facts are there clearly was genetic connectivity even as far back as 2006 or earlier.

          In the second suit, the DPS technical argument, was paraded out as means of defeating delisting notwithstanding the fact it has absolutely nothing to do with the science of recovery.

          We can debate about whether a “technical flaw” in the ESA exists, but I defy anyone to come up with supportable logic that would counter an argument that having wolves listed in WY, while delisted in the remainder of the NRM (if supported by the science of recovery) is a negative for wolves in WY. The balance of those science claims were not allowed to go forward for a factual review against the law due to the fact that Judge Molloy felt compelled to rule out of judicial economy, putting the case on appeal on the DPS issue alone. So, I see wolf advocates using the technical argument to delay rather than address the science of recovery (your lawyers knew this when they advanced the argument).

          In the interim the Congressional rider was passed, a tactic which I find was disgusting, as well. And, Judge Johnson in WY basically said FWS could not summarily dismiss the WY wolf management plan just because they wanted to meet their agreed obligation in only 10 percent of the state (again a point I find difficult to stomach), but apparently permissible under the ESA, and now they seek delisting status in WY, with predictions of success in doing so.

          And, according to Judge Molloy, a Conressional rider is a legally permissible tool under 9th Circuit, and other federal circuit law. That, of course, is now on appeal. Conspicuously absent from the plaintiff groups in this last suit are Defenders and a couple of other national groups. I think they figured out this suit was likely to be a loser, and they didn’t want the political fall out from it.

          Hard to tell what the 9th Circuit will do with the case (they are the most overturned circuit in the federal system based on the statistics of the Supreme Court reviews of their cases). And, thus far, no emergency injunction has been granted during the pendecy of the appeal, notwithstanding advocacy for such by the regional plaintiff groups.

          While I hope MT and ID do not manage for the minimum numbers which arguably were the ones agreed upon in the reintroduction plan and EIS of 1995, the federal courts seem to be inclined to defer to FWS in that regard. Of course, the rider, if sustained, makes that federal statutory law, and the law of the land.

          And, no I don’t think you wasted your time posting the pleadings in the suits. Those are very important to track the respective arguments and positions of the plaintiffs (and particularly who those groups are in any specific action) and the defendants in this continuing dance, which is not over yet.

          It is just too bad some here and in the media don’t read that stuff, because they really do state the motives and rationales of the respective parties.

          And, again, my comments generally speak to delisting in BOTH the NRM and the Western Great Lakes. The latter having tried to get their wolves delisted for at least the last 10 years, with obstructionist groups like HSUS, whose objective is to NEVER have wolves delisted anywhere, becuase of their animal rights agenda (which has absolutely nothing to do with ESA objectives).

          1. Immer Treue Avatar
            Immer Treue


            “Conspicuously absent from the plaintiff groups in this last suit are Defenders and a couple of other national groups. I think they figured out this suit was likely to be a loser, and they didn’t want the political fall out from it.”

            Don’t know if I’m just naive on this issue, but I think a large organization like Defenders dropped the ball on this issue. I’m not amused how they seemed to have just walked away from the issue, though they still advertise for contributions to stop the slaughter, rather than try and work with the states to develop, implement and fund plans (through contributions) that would support a more robust population of wolves.

          2. Dude, the bagman Avatar
            Dude, the bagman

            Scientific and DPS argument aside, I think the real concern was post-delisting management. The whole “inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms” problem. Will the states actually manage how they said they would when they wanted the wolves off the list?

            But it isn’t easy to prove a state wildlife agency’s bad faith, so wildlife advocates were left with procedural challenges to the science and how the DPS policy was implemented. Perhaps we should amend the ESA to correct this “technical flaw?”

          3. JB Avatar

            “I think the real concern was post-delisting management. The whole “inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms” problem.”

            Agreed. This is also a (the?) major problem with the Wyoming plan. Wyoming sets a terrible precedent, IMO. You can bet that Montana and Idaho will be clamoring to reclassify wolves as a nuisance/vermin/predator in the majority of their states. Imagine if Idaho, which is 70% federal public land, reclassifies wolves into an unprotected, when three quarters of the US population believes they should be listed as endangered.

            Wyoming’s actions increase the likelihood of a “showdown” with respect to wolves’ status on federal lands that could have implications for the NA Model.

          4. JEFF E Avatar
            JEFF E

            “You can bet that Montana and Idaho will be clamoring to reclassify wolves as a nuisance/vermin/predator in the majority of their states. Imagine if Idaho, which is 70% federal public land, reclassifies wolves into an unprotected”

            In essence Idaho has already done that.


            The majority of the state has no kill limit.

            The zones that do have a kill limit; that number is greater than the number of known wolves in each of those zones.

            The kill season extends up too 10 months depending on the zone with absolutely zero restrictions on age or sex throughout the state.

            (As a comparison it is illegal to kill a black bear, or cougar accompanied by cubs,or the cubs, or or a cougar still retaining a spotted coat.)

  11. Nancy Avatar


    I’m thinking we (the human species) really need to address our own problems with over population, before we even begin to dictate rules & regulations regarding other species we share the planet with……..

    A fine example:

    1. Salle Avatar

      I’m with you 100% on that one, Nancy

  12. nabeki Avatar

    This has always been Howl Across America’s message,hold peaceful protests as a way of bringing attention to the brutal wolf hunts. Please join us @:

    http://facebook.com/howlacrossamerica to network with like minded activists in your area.

    “Occupy Wolf Country”

  13. Gary Grimm Avatar
    Gary Grimm

    Thanks Brian, for your article. Some of us, not enough yet, have been bringing up environmental and ecosystem sustainability in the Occupy Boise General Assemblies and Working group meetings. Hopefully this topic will soon become one of the major concerns of the Occupy movement, as it underlies the past and current “crises” with economic, political and cultural issues in the U.S. and around the world, in my opinion.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      Gary Grimm,

      Yes I think this is essential. The right wing elites, “the 1%,” not only don’t care whether 99% of the young people ever have a worthwhile job, they don’t care about the future environmental conditions people will face as times goes by. I suppose they believe they can insulate themselves by living in a remote mansion with helicopter access where beauty somehow survives and the “unwashed masses” are kept at bay. They will drink purified water and eat expensive organic vegetables. They can deal with climate change for now by saying it doesn’t exist, or when it manifests itself move to a better place. Some might have a fantasy of communities of the rich who will live in an artificial environmental underground safe from the polluted surface. They might think future drugs will protect them from the diseases that will wipe out the masses. A small population will be sustainable. I’m not saying that they all believe this, but I know beliefs and fantasies like this are out there.

      By the way, there is an Occupy Pocatello which had one successful march. I was out of town when it happened.

  14. OccupyMissoula Avatar

    Hey guys, great article. Here’s a suggestion for BFC:


    Might help turn out a bunch of volunteers this winter!

  15. J Avatar

    Not really related to this post that much but I see you mention Potter’s blog Green is the New Red within this post. So that begs the question why not post that within the links for more people to notice it? Lets remember that the Green Scare isn’t just targeting people who are doing underground illegal actions, it’s targeting all activists and people from all walks of life. Would like to see another link to a valuable site that doesn’t get that much attention.

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Brian Ertz