21 August 2018
This morning I read a message from someone who asked me if I know of any bills that she should bring to the attention of her elected officials. I just happened to be reading one an hour before reading her question. I responded and got off on more of a rant. But then thought this would be some good information to share with our followers.
We have a huge problem in the west and it’s all wrapped up in what I feel like is last century nightmare come back to revisit the United States. In the day and age of such advanced technology…why are any meetings closed, or so remote no one goes to them? Why aren’t they all put online for people to view and comment on? Afterall aren’t public lands, wildlife, clean water and air something that belong to every American?
So…this is my reply to the question, is there a bill I should bring up:
H.R. 5727 is a huge concern
In fact, the UT land trades and sales to SITLA are very concerning. BLM is giving land to UT SITLA, and we are finding out now that it is creating checkerboard areas. This creates a problem.
In Emery County UT, specifically but not exclusively, they traded or sold lands that were set aside (withdrawn) for other land use plans. The parcels sold were within wild horse Herd Areas creating a checkerboard of public, state/state lands. Now, SITLA sued BLM/DOI to get horses of SITLA lands. The case was dismissed when they reached an agreement, that agreement is to remove horses!
This has been an underhanded way for UT to take over portions of public lands, and for ranchers and extractive industry to deal with a century-old issue, wild horses, and other wildlife that are in the way.
These land exchanges to states must stop and must be investigated. I believe that Congress not only needs to vote against H.R 5727/ Senate 2809 because it takes us a huge step backward in protecting critical wilderness areas, but also because it does not and has not been done with consultation of the tribes, and it is solely commercial interest driven. This is common throughout UT and some other western states.
This is the problem we have currently with collaborative, or cooperative groups, also called working groups, advisory council or boards, etc. They claim to be a diverse group of stakeholders, using people who are local to a specific area. If you live in the west, you realize how unsupervised these rogue groups are.
Here in Oregon, I like to go to Eastern Oregon when I can, but it’s a long drive, and lately, all I see is commercial industry out there. It is getting harder and harder to find the wildlife as they disappear, and this year the air quality is so bad that my lungs cannot take it (from wildfires). But to be involved in what decisions are made in this area I love I have to go to these backroom meetings. One of those groups is the Steens Mountain Advisory Council and it is a 7-hour drive one way. If I don’t go then they make decisions that we do not hear about until months later and often too late to do anything about it.
This board I refer to has one person who is a wild horse representative, and that person is a veterinarian, who BLM contracts with, to perform gruesome sterilization experiments, and many on pregnant mares. There is no other wildlife person on this board. There are ranchers, a state guy who seems to be irritated to have to be there, the daughter of another vet who wants to kill and/or sterilize mares is the environmental person, and then there is one member of the Paiute tribe who is just ignored really, and one guy who runs a private campground that butts up to the wilderness study area. They ALL have a financial interest. The one position that is supposed to be someone without financial interest lives in the county, which means he certainly has some level of financial interest.
The whole pretense of collaboration is really rigged and stacked against any real public input. These kinds of groups are happening all over to appease people like the Cliven Bundy’s of the world. They don’t get their way and there’s an armed stand-off. So the rest of us get screwed, we lose valuable lands that are our heritage and culture, and we lose our wildlife, our clean waters, and much more…and it’s all done with a label of collaboration. Collaboration is a word that now makes my skin crawl. Just another word for corruption, behind closed doors, of the good ol’ boys.
Right now, we know of 3 such groups that are really on or watch list, and you will see more action from CAES on issues like these. We want transparency, and we our rights to have a say, they are effectively being stifled on the local, state and federal levels. Check in your area for groups like these and if you find you have one that concerns you send us an email with the links and details, we have a plan!
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Collaboration Isn’t New, But It Doesn’t Mean You’re Doing It Right
By Peter DeWitt on April 2, 2017
“Collaboration. It’s at the tipping point of becoming a buzz word people hate to hear. Perhaps for some of you it already has hit that status. The reason why it becomes a buzz word is that we are put into collaborative groups where the decision we are working on has already been made. We really don’t have a voice in the process. We were window dressing to make it all look good.
Too many collaborative experiences have been manipulated by the man behind the curtain.
I’ve written a few books on collaboration, and I was surprised to find that in many cases it doesn’t work. Kuhn (2015) found that, “More productive collaborations have been identified as those in which participants directly engage one another’s thinking. They listen and respond to what their peers say.”
Unfortunately, too many collaborative moments are spent in the land of nice where people don’t challenge each other’s thinking. Or worse, they’re not supposed to engage as much as they’re supposed to be compliant. Kuhn found that “In less successful collaborations, participants are more likely to work in parallel and ignore or dismiss the other person’s contributions.”
That doesn’t sound very collaborative.”