“The secretary regrets the exchange.” Who’s next at the Department of Interior?

Salazar = Extractive Industries’ ‘BFF’

Yesterday the Desert Independent reported that on Election Day, after being asked about the treatment of wild horses and allegations made in a recent ProPublica article about the illegal sale of wild horses to a slaughter facility in Mexico, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar turned to the reporter and said “If you set me up like this again, I’ll punch you out.”  According to the article there were other witnesses to the exchange and, when asked by Politico, an Interior spokesman responded by saying “the secretary regrets the exchange.”  With this, it looks likely that Ken Salazar is on his way out as Secretary of Interior.

Appointed in 2009, with little public outcry by many of the mainstream conservation groups and chear-leading by others, Ken Salazar rushed to develop vast areas of pristine public lands and oceans for natural gas, oil, wind and solar energy which has been a disaster for wildlife and the environment.  Remember the Gulf Oil Spill anyone?

It wasn’t long before his background as a Colorado rancher became a noticeable influence over his policy decisions.

His very first action as Secretary was to push through the flawed delisting of wolves in the Northern Rockies which was overturned in the courts, then reinstated legislatively to protect the senate seat of Montana Democrat Jon Tester.  The move was widely panned by conservation groups and was clearly made to mollify the livestock industry.

Wild horse advocates became particularly critical of the BLM policy of rounding up and “zeroing out” wild horse populations in areas where livestock numbers have simultaneously been maintained.

With his ranching background he vigorously defended public lands ranching despite the damage to natural resources it causes throughout the West and virtually nothing has changed with regard to public lands livestock management from the Bush years.  In fact, because the general public has a view that Democrats are better on environmental issues they have quit paying attention and things have gotten worse.   In just about every way he has fought the protection of lands and wildlife whenever there was a conflict with commercial interests.

Salazar also sought to fast track large scale industrial energy development of public lands.  In some cases, such as in the Ivanpah solar project, intact and ecologically important desert habitat was developed.  The BLM and US Fish and Wildlife Service seriously underestimated the number endangered desert tortoises that would be displaced and ultimately killed but, after a short suspension of construction, the solar plant was allowed to move forward.

Another fast tracked project, the Spring Valley Wind Project in eastern Nevada, was built just a few miles from one of the largest bat caves in Nevada which houses up to 1 million Brazilian free-tailed bats during their fall migration.  Bats are known to suffer high mortality from wind turbines caused by barotruama which causes their lungs to implode and blood vessels to rupture.

The position of Secretary of Interior is important because the Secretary oversees several federal bureaus that affect policy in many areas that affect lands, seas, and wildlife:

The beltway wisdom is that a westerner is the right pick for the position because most of the lands managed by the Department of Interior are in the West.  Politico lists former North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan, former Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal and soon-to-be former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire as options.

Former Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal was very hostile toward wolves and the protections of other wildlife during his tenure as Governor.  Chris Gregoire, during her tenure as Washington Governor, tried to push through livestock grazing projects on state owned wildlife refuges despite clear evidence that resources were being damaged by livestock grazing and repeated losses in the courts. Another commonly rumored choice has been Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana who is responsible for killing more bison than any previous governor since the great bison slaughter of the 19th century and has a background in the livestock industry as well.

It is time for a new perspective with regard to federal lands managed by the Department of Interior.  Maybe it isn’t the right choice to choose a western politician who has a brown record on environmental issues.  Someone more progressive who understands the underhanded approach of industry and the corrupt nature of the land management agencies might be better to take the helm and reform them.

Those of us in the West who have watched the day-to-day workings of the BLM, USFWS, and NPS are hoping for a time when these agencies actually use the best available science and understand the peril that our lands and wildlife face.  It’s time to break away from the beltway/conventional wisdom and appoint someone with knowledge of science and who does not have a history of exploiting our lands, water, and wildlife for profit or political gain, someone who has a real history of conservation.

The time is ripe for conservation groups to rock the boat and get behind someone who has a strong record of conservation.  There are a few who fit the bill, but Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva immediately comes to mind as someone who understands the issues and has a strong record.  What are your thoughts?


  1. Salle Avatar

    I just saw the article elsewhere, sounds like he could be on the outs, suddenly displays a temper in public.

    I’d love to see him replaced by Raul Grihalva.

  2. Louise Kane Avatar

    Ken thank you for the comments. I don’t know much about Grihalva but I’ll be reading tonight. Is there anything citizens can do to encourage an appointment?
    Salazar’s comments are not surprising given his railroading approach to squander public resources.

    1. Kathleen Avatar

      “When we send helicopters to drive wild horses into cramped holding pens, where they miscarry, panic and sometimes die, we don’t just hurt them — we perpetuate the mentality that they’re in our way. Combine that with our disregard for the welfare of animals, which we’ve come to think of strictly in terms of dollars and cents, and you can see why Scully’s argument is so necessary. Animal welfare isn’t about sharing power. It’s about recognizing that we have it all and deciding what we really want to do with it when the stakes are so high.”


  3. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    Yes, Raul Grijalva would be a great choice, and I read a suggestion of Bruce Babbitt also. The other three I am leery of.

  4. WM Avatar

    While it seems there is a populist trend (wish) going here, Grijalva has neither the experience in the natural resource field nor the academic background. Most DOI Secretaries have been lawyers, Dirk Kempthorne being the only recent exception, if I am not mistaken. It takes some substantive legal knowledge to make policy in this complicated, and highly political area. Of course, a good person can surround themselves with smart advisors, but I think Interior Secretary is too much of a hot seat for some. Being ranking member of the party in power on the House NR Committee with a couple terms as a Congressman does not make Grijalva qualified, by a long shot.

    Obama and the party will still be looking for somebody who can carry the moderate banner, do so smartly and fence with the bad and good guys however they are defined, and not piss off the R’s too much and jeopardize another election in 4 years, when there might be a shot of taking back the House.

    My prediction, if she wants it is Chris Gregoire (heck of a track record IMHO), or Harris Sherman (currently Undersecretary of Agric. from CO).

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      Still defending the status quo I see.

      1. Salle Avatar


  5. malencid Avatar

    I think Obama is getting ready “to give the store away” as far as the West is concerned. There has not been much of anything positive, just a holding action against the radical Republicans.
    A few days ago I saw this interview of former Utah Senator Bennett in HCN


    Note how he brags that he has a 5% voting approval rating with environmentalists but that Obama has noted that Bennett type solutions will be what he pursues in his 2nd term. Salazar then just agrees. Big worries ahead.

  6. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    I had hoped for Raul Grihalva four years ago. Kempthorne was a disaster, as has been Salizar, for wildlife and public lands in the west. I did not approve of Chris Gregoire’s leasing of public lands in eastern Washington, purchased for wildlife, to be leased for cattle grazing.

    Bruce Babbit, also, gets my approval.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      My impression was the Gregoire was pretty good on Western Washington conservation issues which she understood, but she was just plain clueless about ranching or even about the voting/political donation characteristics of the interior country livestock folks.

  7. Birdpond Avatar

    Thank you for mentioning the killer propeller-style wind turbines and bat mortality. These very UNGreen monstrosities take out alarming numbers of soaring birds, as well, and might lead the extinction of many species – All while being one of the least efficient means of generating power. We must stop the proliferation of industrial wind utility installations (deceptively termed ‘farms’) at least until they replace all the prop turbines with bladeless, wildlife-friendly models.

    1. See Ya, Salazar Avatar
      See Ya, Salazar

      But how will those bats and birds survive when the planet heats up another 1 degree? Any idea?

  8. Jim Wiegand Avatar
    Jim Wiegand

    Salazar is just a shill for industry, especially the wind industry. But the tide is turning and people across the world people are finally waking up to the decades of deceit and the horrific impacts caused by the wind industry.
    All this would have happened much sooner if conservation groups like the Sierra Club did not sell-out their causes. As it is, these groups end up in the mitigation process and get paid off for ridiculous solutions that do not work. So in the end these hypocrites get loads of money while claiming to protect the environment and the millions of birds being killed from wind turbines.
    Today, thanks to wind industry mitigation, we now have California condors that will forever be trapped in small regions near their feeding stations and the highly endangered whooping crane population is rapidly declining. Sadly this migrating population is on its last legs because they will not be able to coexist with the thousands of wind turbines along their migration route. For decades prior to 2006 or before the wind industry invasion, whooping crane numbers had increased about 4 percent per year. But since 2006 the average mortality for this period has been about 41 cranes or close to 20 percent per year. Most importantly has been NO NET GAIN in this highly endangered species.
    The propeller style wind turbine is also a prolific killer of eagles. The impact caused by decades of killing these raptors at wind farms can now be seen in an 80-90 percent population decline for the golden eagle in Southern CA. Thousands of miles surveyed only found 1 occupied nest and 45 empty nests. True to form, the industry will blame drought or climate change and create bogus studies to show this.
    But not a negative word can be heard from the Secretary of Interior or any conservation groups except the American Bird Conservancy. All this seems incredible since wind farms are a nothing but death traps to birds, much like the La Brea Tar Pits were to prehistoric animals.

    1. WM Avatar

      The wind industry was, in part, an effort to create JOBS at the time the economy was tanking. It was marketed as GREEN TECHNOLOGY, so everybody jumped on board including lots of progressive environmentally oriented D’s. The question is will Congress reauthorize this damaging legislation to preserve tax breaks for the industry (lots of lobbying by the R controlled House) in the coming days:


  9. debbie catalina Avatar
    debbie catalina

    Now is the time for our many wildlife and conservations groups to band together in a grassroots efforts to support a prospect for the postiong that we like. One a candidate is chosen, the ‘face-saving’ factor will likely preclude someone better.

  10. Justin Forte Avatar
    Justin Forte

    Now that Cowboy Kennie finished his goal to start the extermination of wolves, Barack “The Other Sarah Palin” Obama is gonna appoint another wolf killer to make sure the goal of extinction is complete. There really is no hope anymore.

    1. WM Avatar


      Obviously you missed reading the 1995 EIS on NRM wolf reintroduction, several FWS proposed and final rules on delisting, a Congressional rider for ID and MT, a district court ruling in WY, and a bunch of law suits (before and after the Congressional rider). And the plan, carried out by successive Interior Secretaries was initially implemented by Bruce Babbit in the 1990’s, after it was created in 1987 under Secretary Hodel. I bet Babbit would have done close to the same to implement the plan on the same time schedule, including delisting and to some extent standing by as states began to exercise their “management” in concert with other species/interests for which states are responsible.

      The problem with some wolf advocates, is that they get so focused on what they believed was more than it was from the start, and then like to distort the history of it, as well as exaggerate the impacts of management pursuant to the plan.

      1. Angela M Avatar
        Angela M

        I REALLY think YOU need to educate your self better on the Wolf situation WM. You obviously have no clue what you are talking about. We exagerate nothing. This IS what is going to happen. Let me enlighten you a little as I live in Idaho and I have seen this first hand. First, they kill off all the Wolves in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and other states. Then you start seeing an explosion of Deer and Elk herds because there are not enough natural predators to weed them out and hunting doesn’t do the job alone. Then you have cattlemen complaining about how they don’t have enough mountain grass to graze their precious cattle on anymore because the Deer and Elk have eatin all the grass. Also you will see an explosion of smaller predators such as coyotes and your going to start having problems with them coming into rural areas and raiding trash and killing peoples pets. Also you will start seeing other species die off because without an apex predator such as the Wolf to manage the populations of Deer and Elk the water ecosystems and vegation will suffer greatly. In time those precious Deer and Elk that hunters love so much will die off due to over population and disease. There will be nothing left for no one. You need to research history because I have and I have seen it myself. Before they reintroduced the Wolf to Idaho we were having MAJOR problems with Deer and Elk as well as Coyotes and other smaller predators. Other animals were suffering greatly as well as natural ecosystems. When they reintroduced the Wolf things seemed to even out. Now that the Wolf is being wiped out AGAIN you will see in time that things will go back to being off balance and then you can say goodbye to your precious Deer and Elk herds. As well as your precious cattle!!!

      2. WM Avatar


        By your comment you prove my very point. And, let’s be clear here, nobody is going to kill off all the wolves in the NRM as you suggest. That is an absurd statement in and of itself. The NRM population might go down to around 1,000 or a little below, even with the hunting seasons going on.

        Your assertions might also benefit from a little more actual knowledge about wolves/deer/elk and less uninformed opinion until your knowledge catches up. Perhaps you would benefit from starting here:


        1. Angela M Avatar
          Angela M

          Don’t need to I LIVE IT…. It’s obvious to me that you are just another inbred moron that just don’t get it. There is no point arguing with you anymore on the issue because you will NEVER see the truth for what it really is until it’s too late!!! Go back to your sheep WM…. They miss ewe…. Burry your head like everyone else is and keep living in your little fantasy world. You are pointless….

          1. Arbo Avatar

            Angela…I agree that the current State wolf management plans, if they can be called “management” plans are decidely lacking in decision-making based in science. That said, WM also points out that the wolf issue is complicated. Very complicated. Yes, indeed, wolves are an apex predator that demonstrate that the importance of trophic cascades in ecosystems. However, much of that “functioning” ecosystem that demonstrated the reality of trophic cascades was based on work conducted in Yellowstone NP. Hunters and ranchers aside, wolves face numerous other perils outside YNP.

            A little food for thought about how this situation got to where it is now in High Country News in May 2011. It is a well-balanced article that is worth a read:


  11. Deb Avatar

    For your consideration. Tomorrow a petition will be posted asking for Salazar’s removal and for Congressman Grijavla to be nominated.


  12. See Ya, Salazar Avatar
    See Ya, Salazar

    I would like to see Raul Grijalva nominated and appointed for Sec of Interior. I’d like to see someone with zero, nada, no ties to Big Ag and Big Oil, Gas and Coal or welfare ranching interests and someone with integrity to protect lands, wilderness and wildlife. To my knowledge Bruce Babbitt already served as Secretary of the Interior under Clinton. Why are we discussing him? Times have changed drastically since then.

  13. Larry Keeney Avatar
    Larry Keeney

    This idea will rock your rocking chair; what about Jon Huntsman Jr? My thoughts; moderate R, not afraid to embrace global warming, speaks up against creationism, harder for R’s to speak against him. Once seperated from the R crowd I believe would feel freer to let more of his liberal side out. Cons; I did not follow his enviro record while in Utah. I know it must have been politically savy with R’s in Utah but did he show reluctance to give away everything? And could he lead some R’s to the environmental trough better than Salazar? I believe that to think we are going to get an Edward Abby is the result of too much star gazing. We can only hope for a serious, level headed, green LEANING person not one that is tipped completely over in the beargrass. Gregoire however hasn’t impressed me. When I called her office re the Wedge Pack issue I was told she said she didn’t have authority to change anything.

    1. WM Avatar

      ++When I called her office re the Wedge Pack issue I was told she said she didn’t have authority to change anything.++

      That was because she was letting her professional staff and the Commission (of which she had appointed several pro-wolf members) DO THEIR JOB. She wasn’t looking for votes, and she otherwise has a very good record on environmental matters, notwithstanding the hit she has taken here on the livestock issue in Eastern WA. Frankly, I don’t know the details of what that is about, and maybe Ken or Ralph can enlighten us on the basis for the litigation underlying it.

  14. Theo Avatar

    Raul Grihalva’s support of feral horses on fragile arid ranges makes him a bad choice. Too bad because on other issues he seems to respect science. I prefer Babbit.

    1. See Ya, Salazar Avatar
      See Ya, Salazar

      But what about decades long support of welfare cattle grazing on those fragile, arid lands? With climate change happening at a more alarming pace than anticipated, I am afraid the cattle will have to go. Horses are not the problem. Never have been.

      1. Theo Avatar

        In some place horses and burros clearly are the problem and other places where they have been removed dramatic recovery has followed re: Grand Canyon NP and Sheldon NWR are a couple examples.

  15. Linda H. Avatar
    Linda H.

    President Obama is never going to choose Senator Grijalva. He’s too weighted in favor of the environment over other “multiple uses”, including energy. IMO, Tom Udall (D.NM) would be a better fit, because he would bring a more balanced approach to the environment and energy development. His father, Stewart, served as Secretary of the Interior from 1961 to 1969 under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Tom’s my Senator and I’d hate to lose him, but I’m willing to back him for Secretary since his appointment would server the greater good. His cousin, Senator Mark Udall (D.CO) might be another good candidate for the position.

  16. rork Avatar

    Babbitt is good for me.
    Wild-horse advocates are not.

  17. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    This is why I think Babbitt would be a good idea, if he would like to serve as Sec’ty of the Interior again, his experience and enthusiasm (love) of the environment:

    “As Secretary of the Interior from 1993-2001, Babbitt was perhaps the best-qualified person ever to hold that position. He combined experience and enthusiasm with a deep commitment to environmental protection and restoration. He tackled some of the most complex and controversial issues in public land management, resulting in long overdue reforms to mining, grazing, and endangered species law, and the protection of millions of acres of federal land from development through the designation of several national monuments. He used his skills as an effective public advocate and teacher to counter the inevitable criticism from political opponents, and he was instrumental in defeating the environmental rollback propositions of the Republican’s 1994 manifesto, Contract with America.”


    I remember that time, I think we referred to that book as the “Contract on America”. 😉

    Jon Huntsman Jr. is an interesting thought, too.

  18. Mike Avatar

    Good article, Ken. Gives one hope.

  19. Mike Avatar

    Raul Grijalva or Babbitt would be great.

    Time to let science take the focus back at the DOI.

  20. WM Avatar

    The interesting thing about Babbit’s success is that he was not only exceptionally qualified, but at the start of the party-on Clinton presidency, both the House and the Senate were D controlled. Huge and important background and political environment to get things done that were good for the environment. One area that doesn’t get much publicity was the elimination of the US Bureau of Mines.

    Even if Babbit were short-listed and asked, would he take the job? Maybe others know whether he has interest. He must be in his mid or late ’70’s, now. And, he would not have the political support or power in the House to get much done, without alot of fights, especially with the economy the way it is. And, it is doubtful in my view, whether he would get a very long leash by the President, or the D Party for that matter.

    1. Louise Kane Avatar

      good comments WM. I agree that the democratic party is not the same as it was when Babbitt had the job previously although his experience might get him a retractable leash, now, rather then a short one. It will be wonderful to see KS go

  21. Jackie Davis Avatar
    Jackie Davis

    Great comments everyone. I cannot add much other than we would have to look very hard to find someone that could be as bad or worse than Salazar. He is a poor excuse for the person that is supposed to taking care of our interior and the native animals that live there.

    1. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      James Watt… worst I.S. ever in the modern era.

      Whoever Romney would have appointed, had that nightmare came to pass, would have been worse.

      As bad as Obama is, was, might be, depending on ones opinion, Salazar would have looked like John Muir by comparison.

      1. timz Avatar

        Appointment hasn’t even been made yet and the Obama apologists are already starting with the “Whoever Romney would have appointed, had that nightmare came to pass, would have been worse.”
        If it ends up being someone like Schweitzer,
        how could it be worse.

        1. JEFF E Avatar
          JEFF E

          Not apologizing for anyone, just making a comment based on reality.

          something you should explore sometime.

          As far as I can tell the only thing you are really adept at is throwing turds over the fence

          1. timz Avatar

            you call it it what you like, what is “reality”, Romney is not nor ever will be the president. He is not responsible for the hundreds of wolves that have been killed in the last four years. Making these type of what if comparisons shows a lack of intellegence that you pretend to have so much of.

  22. LNorman Avatar

    All the wild horses/burros languishing in concentration camps, the Gulf of Mexico ecosystems, and all the wildlife casualties certainly regret salazoo’s appointment. He should have been indicted already for his complicity in the Deepwater Horizon disaster and malfeasance of office. Grijalva would be an excellent replacement.

  23. Kayla Avatar

    Now personally I have never been a fan of Salazar. It is time for him to go and replace him with someone who really cares for the land, wilderness, and the wildlife.

    In My Opinion!

  24. Terri Russell Avatar
    Terri Russell

    I agree with conservation concerns and agree that the Arizona Congressman may be the man for the job. I hope that the President sees things my way.

  25. aves Avatar

    New face + same president = same policies (+/- one cowboy hat).

    I’d love to see Robert Kennedy in the position but nothing that positive will happen under Obama.

    1. Louise Kane Avatar

      Aves I had not thought of Kennedy but that would be a great choice. Also sadly agree with the last part of your post

  26. Mary Adkins-Matthews Avatar
    Mary Adkins-Matthews

    The slaughter Czar needs to be fired. Everyone knows that he has been selling horses to people who take them straight to slaughter for years now. It is time that he is held accountable and removed from a position where he is supposed to be protecting the mustangs, not managing them to extinction!

    1. WM Avatar

      Interesting facts in a BLM Wild Horse and Burro program in a Myth and Answer format.

      Mary Adkins-Mathers,

      Link to website:


      BLM is not managing wild horses to extinction. See Answer to Myth #4.

      BlM is under a statutory mandate to reduce the numbers of wild horses/burros on federal land. They are not obligated to see where they ultimately go. Congress (that’s right, federal body we look to for answers in spending federal dollars) put them in a bind when they took the ill advised lobbying of horse advocates when they cut the USDA meat inspector budget that basically shut down horse slaughter operations FORCING the need to ship animals to Mexico or Canada, under terrible conditions and inhumane slaughter.

      1. Ida Lupine Avatar
        Ida Lupine

        Our biggest ‘claim to fame’ as human beings is our supposed empathy and compassion for others, with the unique ability among living things to comprehend this. IMO, as decent human beings we are obligated to see where they ultimately go. We can’t claim to be the so-called highest form of life and then turn around and not only ignore pain and suffering of other living things, but to cause it and claim we are not responsible for it.

        IMO, slaughter in the US isn’t any more humane than shipping them across borders. Noone forces us to ship them to slaughter under terrible conditions where they are not even given any water, we choose to do that.

        Falling back on and creating self-serving statutes is just another way of evading our responsiblities and rationalizing it ok when it is not.

      2. Nancy Avatar

        “Interesting facts in a BLM Wild Horse and Burro program in a Myth and Answer format”

        I don’t know why, but this infamous statement popped into my mind WM when I read the Myth & Answer format 🙂

        ‘I did NOT have sexual relations with that woman!’

        1. WM Avatar


          The difference between President Clinton’s (slick Willie’s) statement, and the written word of the BLM is that the facts can be checked in the latter. The he said, she said scenario is usually behind closed doors, where only the participants know, unless, of course, the camera was rolling or maybe Nixon’s old tape recorder.

          1. Nancy Avatar

            WM – There are a number of articles out there that question BLM’s ability to function as a government agency.

            Here are just a few:





            And of course this (which was covered here)

            “To explore other options for reducing the number of horses in holding, top BLM officials gathered for weekly closed-door meetings from July to October 2008. According to meeting minutes obtained by the Conquistador Equine Rescue & Advocacy Program, they considered selling thousands of animals for slaughter and even large-scale euthanasia, but concluded such actions would enrage animal-welfare activists to the point they might “threaten the safety of our facilities and our employees.”

            No clear plan emerged.

            As the wild horse program’s situation grew increasingly dire, a new option came knocking: Tom Davis”


            1. WM Avatar


              I am not one to defend BLM. However, any agency with its size and function will have critics. There will be allegations of the agency not meeting the requirements of the laws under which it operates, allegations of unethical/illegal conduct, assertions that it “does favors” for it constituent base, and a whole bunch of things. And with any agency, business or even state or local activity function, some of it will be true, and others false. We have seen here how many times WWP has taken BLM, FS, states of UT, WA and others, to the woodshed and they have been thumped in court for not following their respecitve law.

              The link you posted to the Parumph, NV airport project “being required to pay” BLM for review of its EIS on federal land is not unusual – and why shouldn’t a municipality pay the federal government back for review of its capital improvements project? I think it is good policy and it happens alot, pursuant to federal regulations in many agencies. Bad example, Nancy.

              The link to the LA Times article about reselling grazing rights, which is illegal. Yeah, so it is illegal, then it would be a Justice Department decision to determine whether to investigate and prosecute – you see any of that aspect covered in the article. Just somebody peeing on BLM.

              As for the Tom Davis buying BLM horses and BLM looking the other way as he ships them out of the country for slaughter, seems the duty is again on the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute, or better yet Congress (who created the problem after listening to horse advocates). Let’s throw another one at Justice, what do you suppose they will do with the marijuana laws WA and CO just passed, which are against federal law?

              And by the way, if I had my d’ruthers, I would like to see BLM lands pulled from Interior and stuck into Agriculture, where other working range/forest lands are managed. I think it might change the culture some of the employees, do a reset with the constituent base and take some of the heat of the Secretary.

            2. WM Avatar

              Last sentence should read,

              ++…do a reset with the constituent base and take some of the heat OFF FROM the Secretary OF INTERIOR.++

    2. Jay Avatar

      Feral horses are not wildlife–why is that so hard to understand? We’ve marginalized and pushed wildlife into the least desirable locales, and then to pour salt in the wound, irresponsible owners have dumped their horses onto what’s left of wildlife habitat to outcompete for forage that rightfully should go to deer, elk, antelope, etc. Horses belong in pastures, not public lands (same goes for cows).

  27. Kristy Amado Avatar
    Kristy Amado

    @Jay. How DARE you say that horses don’t belong on public lands?!?! That is simply outrageous and hateful! That’s just like saying that jews didn’t belong on earth! I don’t care if those horses are original wild mustangs or poor souls that people threw away. The fact IS that they have EVERY bit as much right to those lands as ALL your deer, elk, etc. AND WELFARE cattle!! You statement shows that you truly don’t care about horses, wild or feral, and you are the enemy.

    1. Jay Avatar

      What an asinine, foolish statement–trust an extremist such as yourself to make a link between jews and feral animals. I bet you think feral cats are wonderful too?

      Fortunately, sane, rational managers are in the decision making seat, not nuts like yourself.

      By the way, I have horses, but I don’t dump them off on private lands to fend for themselves.

  28. Kristy Amado Avatar
    Kristy Amado

    I love how just because I have an informed opinion that goes against what you think, I’m labeled an “extremist”. Replace “extremist” with “compassionate and caring”!

    1. Mal Adapted Avatar
      Mal Adapted

      Kristy, I’m sorry, but your first comment here approaches the classic Reductio ad Hitlerum. It’s an extremist tactic. If you’re claiming an “informed opinion”, you’ll have to do better.

  29. Kristy Amado Avatar
    Kristy Amado

    And, BTW, I love feral cats as much as any other cats, and have gone to great lengths to save many of them. I live in a tiny rural town, and for some reason most of the residents just don’t care about all their cats, so I have lots of feral kittens and cats living at my place. I catch them, have them spayed/neutered/vaccinated, and either adopted out, or they hang around here and keep the mouse/vole population bearable. So, what the hell is wrong with loving feral ANYTHINGS?!

    1. Jay Avatar

      “So, what the hell is wrong with loving feral ANYTHINGS?!”

      I guess your love doesn’t extend to the native wildlife like mice and voles. You’re clueless.

  30. Kristy Amado Avatar
    Kristy Amado

    AND, I just rescued a gorgeous little female mink that escaped from the fur farm down the road. Bet you HATE that, don’t ya Jay!?

    1. Jay Avatar

      Either you’re unbalanced, or just incredibly immature.

      1. skyrim Avatar

        Oh come on Jay….
        There’s room for a bit of compassion on this page.

        1. Jay Avatar

          I put Kristy in the same extremist category as the Rockholm’s of this world, just on the other side of the fence. Ignorance and extremism shouldn’t be tolerated or accepted, regardless of which side it’s coming from.

          1. Louise Kane Avatar

            Most of this exchange seems extremely unproductive but Kristy made a good point. People who care about animals and do not agree with inhumane policies are often labeled as extremists. That particular argument is tired. Its nto extremist to work for better and humane treatment of all animals. Its extremist to believe humans have a right to abuse wildlife and to subject them to atrocities. I believe thats what Kristy was getting at when she wrote,
            Replace “extremist” with “compassionate and caring”! and as skyrim wrote, “Oh come on Jay….
            There’s room for a bit of compassion on this page.”

            1. Jay Avatar

              Caring for animals, and thinking domestic cows and horses should run free to the detriment of native wildlife aren’t really one and the same, are they Louise? Do you think mentioning jews and horses in the same sentence is middle-of-the-road discussion material? Why should I be tolerant of that crap?

  31. Kristy Amado Avatar
    Kristy Amado

    I wouldn’t say “unbalanced”. I would say “unique, individual, NOT A SHEEP”. As for “immature”. . . really? I think your statements show YOU to be the immature one. And, BTW, I never accused YOU of dumping your horses. And I can’t help but wonder WHY you would think that ALL horses belong in a pasture, and never the wild. That’s a very discriminating viewpoint.

    1. Jay Avatar

      Well then cows deserve to run feral too, because cows are beautiful and wonderful and I love them love them love them. Run free cows, run free.

  32. Kristy Amado Avatar
    Kristy Amado

    I don’t particularly like it when mice and vole are caught and killed by the cats, mink, coyote, etc… but THAT is NATURE! I have actually made valiant attempts to save baby mice AND baby voles that I’ve found in my feed room. Their mama’s had run off, and I brought them in and tried as hard as I could to save them. But, nature has its own ideas. Man’s ideas seldom have anything to do with nature.

    1. Mal Adapted Avatar
      Mal Adapted

      Kristy, how do you feel about the depauperation of native plant communities, from overgrazing by horses, cows and other introduced animals?

      1. Jay Avatar

        Kristy studied ecology at the University of Walt Disney, so don’t expect a sane, rational response.

  33. Kristy Amado Avatar
    Kristy Amado

    I would LOVE it if cows could run free!!

  34. Kristy Amado Avatar
    Kristy Amado

    Well, you guys are all about “sane and rational”, so I’m gonna leave it to you to solve the worlds problems (NOT). However, I have important things to do, and arguing non stop with you is not going to get them done. I’ll take Grijalva over Salazar ANY day, and the sooner the better. And I’ll just hope and pray that no abused or needy animal comes your way.

    1. Louise Kane Avatar

      Kristy you have an obvious passion for animals, and I think its admirable to want humane treatment for all animals. However, concerning free roaming cows….I think what you mean by cows running free is that you wish they were not raised to be killed? I’m not sure you mean they should be allowed to roam free, as your post suggests. Cattle that are allowed to graze on public or other lands, do a tremendous amount of habitat damage. They compact soil and make it less fertile, they trample and destroy riverine habitats, and cattle that are left to pasture without appropriate oversight provide the primary reason that ranchers have little or no tolerance for wild predators or other wild animals like bison.

    2. Mal Adapted Avatar
      Mal Adapted

      I’m a cat-person myself, Kristy, and all my cats have been rescues. I’ve also been a lover of natural history since early childhood, which led to training in ecology to the doctoral level. Consequently, I’m all too aware of the impact free-roaming cats have on small animal communities. My cats have all been fixed as soon as I adopted them, and they’ve never been allowed outside unsupervised.

      The life of any animal has value to me, but the integrity of native biota where I live has greater value. Burgeoning populations of feral domesticated animals are threats to biodiversity world-wide, and I support bringing them under control by any means necessary. Sometimes, hard choices have to made.

  35. Spirithorsebr Avatar
  36. Louise Kane Avatar

    This came to my mailbox today from Raul Grijalva….considering the past post I think this is interesting as another bit of information on Mr Grijalva

    Dear Louise,

    The media is talking about the ‘fiscal cliff’ as though it fell on us out of the sky. Every day John Boehner and the Beltway gang tell us catastrophe is around the corner unless we cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits, and that we have to do it now before we reach the deadline Republicans created.

    Don’t they remember how we got here in the first place?

    The debate we’re having today should be about the two wars Republicans put on the nation’s credit card and the massive tax cuts George Bush gave the richest two percent of the country. Republicans want to change the subject to cutting social programs like school lunches that don’t contribute to the deficit.

    If you think John Boehner and his media buddies can take a hike, I’m with you.

    I’m the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for a reason: I say we fight back. I say we protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from people who want to cut them to pay for more tax cuts for the rich.

    We won’t have a chance to put the gavel back into Democratic hands until 2014, but until then, I’m going to keep fighting for the people.

    Can I count on you to contribute $10, $25, $50 or whatever you can afford, to help us start our re-election campaign stronger than ever?

    Thanks for your support. We’re going to win with your help.



    Paid for by A Whole Lot of People for Grijalva Congressional Committee

    1. Ida Lupine Avatar
      Ida Lupine

      Paid for by A Whole Lot of People for Grijalva Congressional Committee

      I love it. 🙂


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.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ken Cole