by Carole Jorgensen
While you are “hunkering” down at home, others are hard at work in Washington weakening federal rules or not moving important legislation through Congress. Please consider contacting your Congressional Representatives on these very important issues. To send messages, simply google websites for Congressman Gianforte and Senators Tester and Daines.
Bipartisan bills to provide full, dedicated funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), as well as provide funding to the maintenance backlog on our federal public lands, have been introduced in the House (HR3195, The Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act), and in the Senate (S342, The Great American Outdoors Act). Contact your Congressional representatives and ask them to support these bills and seek final legislative action.
The Administration is moving forward to remove “incidental take” mitigation and fines in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act despite overwhelming concerns from the scientific community. Theproposed changes to the MBTA are being administered by the USFWS, while several lawsuits are in progress to reverse those changes. In the interim, there is no enforcement of “incidental take” of migratory birds nor any enforcement of mitigation measures to reduce such take, and bird losses are occurring. Stay tuned.
The Environmental Protection Act will decrease regulations and monitoring of air and water pollution for an undisclosed period of time using the Covid-19 situation as the rationale for the reduction of regulations and monitoring. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-03/documents/oecamemooncovid19implications.pdf
Regarding local issues, Flathead Audubon provided comments on the following proposals. These letters can be viewed in Conservation Correspondence under the Conservation tab.
- Oil Safe Flathead (www.facebook.com/KeepitCleannotCrude/) to reduce the chances of adverse effects from oil spills by trains.
- General proposal for Montana State Parks to potentially acquire the Sliter family property in Somers, MT (https://www.dailyinterlake.com/news/2020/apr/05/comment-period-extended-for-somers-beach-park-6/).
- Scoping comments on potential conservation easement for commercial timberland adjacent to Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge (http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/fishAndWildlife/nr_1322.html)