Governor Gianforte and AG Knudsen want to delist the Grizzly Bear
Governor Greg Gianforte has addressed the Grizzly Bear problem in Montana many times over the past several years. Even though the majority of the state wants the Grizzly de-listed, the decision is up to the Interior Department at the Federal Level. Recently Governor Gianforte has directed his administration to “get prepared” in case the Federal Government decides to turn over the management back to the state. This thought is hopeful, but unfortunately appears to be far fetched at this time. Governor Ginaforte was very direct in his assessment of what needs to happen in Washington D.C.
Governor Gianfort: We need the federal government to do their job. They haven't been doing it. We petitioned for de-listing in December of 2021. Now, the federal law says they're supposed to respond within 90 days. It's now over a year and all we've gotten is crickets. I've spoken with the deputy secretary at the Interior, which oversees the US. Wildlife Service multiple times. I met face to face with him twice in Montana last year, and he promised me an answer by the end of last year. A little late. Maybe it's a good sign they're so incompetent.
What does the State Need to do to advance the cause:
Governor Gianforte: We follow the rules. We've applied science, and this Endangered Species Act is sort of like
I've said this before, it's like Hotel California. You can check out, but you can never leave.
And these grizzly bears, the biologists tell me they've been at maximum carrying capacity of the ecosystem for almost 20 years. And it's time to delist them and pass management control back to the state. We will maintain a sustainable population of grizzly bears, but when they're in people's backyards and their personal safety is being threatened and they're living in the grain bins as they are all along the Rocky Mountain front, we need a different approach. And so the Biden administration should do what's right. They should look at the science and they should return control back to the state of Montana.
Attorney General Austin Knudsen has a strong agricultural background and is very passionate about the subject of Grizzly Bears and the need to de-list them:
AG Knudsen: Well, that's a huge one for me. You guys know I'm a farm and ranch kid from northeastern Montana. Grew up doing that, big FFA background. We're working with the governor pretty close on that one. They've kind of asked us to kind of slow down and try to work through the federal process, through the fish wildlife service. So trying to be a good partner with the governor's office, that's what we're doing. I'm kind of dubious about that. Frankly, I don't think we're going to be successful in convincing, hat in hand, the US. Fish and wildlife service to just, on their own, delist the grizzly bear. I think we're dealing with vicious ideologues in Washington D.C. right now on that issue that aren't going to be interested in actual science. They're not going to be interested in actual data and numbers on how many grizzly bears are actually out there now and just how far beyond the target population we actually are. So I think we're going to end up having to get aggressive and sue them here. But as I said, we're working through the federal process, and we're trying to use reason at this point, but
I guess I'd say where we are. I'm loading the artillery.
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