Sam Jojola, USFWS Special Agent (retired)

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Research Illuminates Historical Threats for Grizzlies in the GYE

The 23 years covert experience in federal wildlife law enforcement always reminds me to look deep behind the curtain of puppet master politics that often manipulate the strands of negative decisions that hamper long term protection of key wildlife species in our country and around the globe. Recent research has further illuminated past and present political threats of oil, gas, with alliances from SCI and the NRA that appear to be a multi-prong threat. This detailed 2014 report describes these alliances and how they can work to compromise key biological and wildlife resources:

https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/IndustryInfluenceReport.pdf

Foreign mining interests are looming over the GYE. Google “mining opportunities in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem” and a host of articles appear. Gold mining interests have friends in “high places”. When states are left to take the lead in managing these interests, the “golden rule” will often apply. “He who hath the gold rules”, and ecosystems and wildlife will suffer by political meddling. Déjà vu all over again reminds me of my experience in the 1980’s in Nevada with foreign precious metal corporations and migratory bird deaths from cyanide heap leach operations.

Trophy hunting Grizzlies in the GYE could be the coup de gras with oil, gas and mining interests contributing to the “big picture” of multiple ongoing serious threats.

Recent court decision reveals flaws with delisting GYE Grizzly

The recent court decision based on a lawsuit by the Humane Society of the United States revealed serious flaws behind the Grizzly delisting in the GYE:

https://www.courthousenews.com/wolf-ruling-has-agency-wrestling-with-grizzlies/

I strongly believe the HSUS decision that affects the GYE grizzly bear final rule should require the Service to re-evaluate the delisting of the GYE grizzly bear population and examine this species as a whole across the remaining U.S. grizzly bear ecosystems. This court decision shows USFWS is acting in haste to separate listed species into distinct populations and delisting them. The GYE Grizzly delisting exposes the blatant hypocrisy of this bizarre and reckless strategy that goes against the long term protection of all grizzly bear populations.

USFWS Endangered Species Act Overview identifies key language clause

Google “USFWS endangered species policies” and this website appears: https://www.fws.gov/endangered/laws-policies/

The USFWS website under policies has the above heading the clearly states in the opening line in the third paragraph “Under the ESA, species may be listed as endangered or threatened. “Endangered” means a species is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. “Threatened” means a species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future.

The ESA defines a threatened species as “any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” This clause is not present in the overview page that provides greater clarification of the significance of threatened status.

The USFWS failed to consider the Grizzly Bear in the GYE delisting when it did not consider its threatened status that would allow greater protection over the long term. If the GYE grizzly delisting is allowed to remain, the other grizzly populations would be individually subject to removing their threatened status over time.

The GYE grizzlies need that additional protection opportunity “throughout all or a significant portion of its range” which really encompasses all the other ecosystems that were not considered in the GYE delisting. Hence the delisting is without scientific merit and in the legal realm seriously flawed. The Service appears to be separating the grizzly bear ecosystems into individual ranges with this current flawed delisting decision in the GYE.

The ESA is and has been manipulated to accommodate special interest groups with certain Congressional members following their lead to undermine long term protection for key species like the Grizzly in the GYE.

PEER 1997 Report on bureaucratic dysfunction on GYE grizzly bear biology

I hope a federal judge reads this detailed report that chronicles intimidation and political meddling into science based information decisions for the grizzly in the GYE. This report documents falsifying agency reports and harassment of wildlife biologists working to protect the grizzly in the GYE. These past decisions have impacted this species negatively and have caused detrimental harm to sound scientific evidence that document a pattern of long term mismanagement of the GYE grizzly bear that needs to be considered in the current delisting: https://www.peer.org/assets/docs/whitepapers/1997_grizzly_science.pdf

Everyone should take time to read this 22 page document that outlines many of the same political problems that existed then are still in existence today.

No matter whether a Democrat or Republican are in office, the Grizzlies in the GYE are still affected by many special interest groups that morph like chameleons in different administrations with their disingenuous platforms. Wildlife bureaucrats follow by trading in their professional integrity for political expediency.

Sam Jojola, USFWS Special Agent (retired)

A committee can make a decision that is dumber than any of its members.”

David Coblitz

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