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Sign Of The Times

Around the state and nation we hear of happenings, especially in the political area, that seem extreme to most of us, and we just wonder what brought that on. Such was the case when we heard of the bill introduced a couple of weeks ago that would prohibit the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from listing the Greater or Gunnison sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) where a state management plan is in place.

The Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act itself doesn’t seem extreme as a method of combating an ESA that has completely gone astray. The ESA, as we know it, is feared by most of the western states and is seen as a means to fund some conservation groups, who sue the government to make money. It was meant to protect endangered species and manage them until a listing was not needed anymore, not as a means to put people out of business or a way for the government to control more land. The ESA is extreme these days.

A group of pretty common sense lawmakers, including Representatives Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and our own Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) sponsored the legislation.

All the states involved in the sage grouse listing have developed state plans, with Wyoming leading the way as a number of states have copied Wyoming’s plan, but there still are a couple of states who need to step it up.

It will be interesting to see, if passed by Congress, whether the President will sign the bill into law. We suspect he will not. But if it does pass into law, will those same radical groups now sue the states where they will have to pay their own way?  Stay tuned.

Another item that caught my eye as extreme was in upstate New York where a truck hauling cattle overturned, and some cattle were killed. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) now want to build a roadside memorial for the 11 cows killed. PETA has applied to put up a 10-foot tombstone on the right-of-way near the crash site. 

A survey by a local newspaper asked readers, “Should a roadside memorial for the killed cows be allowed?” With 299 votes so far, 44 percent of the voters say yes, 23 percent say flat no, 20 percent say the memorial would be a distraction to drivers, and 13 percent say they may not agree with PETA but support their right to have the memorial. That’s extreme.

For you that are interested in information on the sage grouse issue, head to Cody for the 2014 Wyoming Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show. The name of this gathering is “Defining Our Opportunities,” and the Wyoming Stock Growers Association has a great agenda full of information and fun. On Thursday morning, there is a session on “Surviving with the Bird” to explain candidate conservation agreements with assurances (CCAAs) from both a legal and landowner perspective. Aside from committee meetings, there will also be speakers on the Farm Bill and a talk by Dick McGinity, president of the University of Wyoming. 

On Friday, we will hear about a sustainable beef industry and listen to Greg Peterson of the Peterson Farm Brothers, and on Saturday, our congressional delegation and state candidates for Secretary of State and Superintendent of Public Instruction will visit with attendees.  

So come to Cody June 4-7 and let the grass grow.