JULY 8, 2010

Upper Lochsa Land Exchange Guest Editorial

The government attacks the Clearwater regionís wildlife and forests

By Harvey Neese

Part IV

   It is looking more and more like the Clearwater Region of Idaho is being attacked by government officials in reference to its forests and wildlife resources. This is not by a particular political party but by government officials no matter which party is in charge. And none of the government oversight personnel or agency heads seems to take necessary steps to correct these sometimes illegal acts or decisions that are damaging the people most affected by the issues.

   The first case is the claimed illegal way that diseased wolves from Canada were transplanted into Idaho. There is strong evidence by private sources that the Fish & Game Dept. (IDFG) violated Idaho Code Sec. 36-715 (2) by introducing wolves with Hydatid disease into Idaho. This source publically claims that (a) IDFG illegally signed a document which officially approved the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) wolf plan and (b) illegally signed a permit authorizing the FWS to introduce up to 75 Canadian wolves into Idaho. According to the claim, Idaho law prohibits the IDFG from signing the agreements Ėyet it was done anyway (information from The Outdoorsman, May 2010 issue).

   The following figures of the IDFG shows that elk harvests have dropped dramatically the past 15 years: Units 10 & 12, from 1975 elk harvested to 154; three other units from 1009 to 176, four other units from1029 to 331. And no charges are brought against the government agency in charge of these drastic downturns. Is this an attack on a wildlife population or just incompetence? There is little attention paid to the most affected people who are paying the bills. The people want this to stop!

   Now, we have a government agency (Forest Service) that proposes to trade away much of the federal public lands in the Clearwater Region to a private entrepreneur. The majority of the people most affected are against it as are most area state and county officials yet a government agency continues to spend time and effort to push through this trade. Why donít the people majority most affected have the say in this ill-advised, ridiculous effort to trade away public lands that have been used by the people for many decades? The people want this to stop!

   When I lived and worked in countries as Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, etc., I was asked by the people numerous times how the government in America would handle a particular issue that the people wanted resolved. I would tell them that our government is of, by and for the people and the duty of officials were to do what the majority of the people wish. Was I wrong or has our government changed that much in recent years? From my observations these days of national, state and local politics, I could never tell the people in these dictatorships and communist countries that the government in America listens to the majority of the people (except near elections). To be totally truthful, I would have to say that our government in 2010, in many ways, is the same as theirs in ignoring the wishes of the majority on issue after issue.