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Illegal plan just makes Turner richer

Illegal plan just makes Turner richer

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Editor:

Well, once again the Casper Star-Tribune editorial board has written an editorial that could have been written by the special interest the editorial supports. I refer to your editorial applauding (with one hand perhaps?) Ted Turner's application to take quarantined wild Yellowstone bison off the state of Montana's hands ("Yellowstone bison should go to Turner," CS-T, Nov. 16).

Giving wild Yellowstone bison to billionaire Ted Turner to make him even richer is not just a bum idea, it's also illegal.

Had you researched the issue, you'd have found the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife & Parks (FWP) "Request for Proposals (RFP) II For Disposition of Quarantine Facility Bison" at this URL: http://fwp.mt.gov/publicnotices/notice_2097.aspx. This is an official and legal document. The RFP preamble reads: "Before the quarantine bison will be transferred, the successful applicant will be required to sign an MOU agreeing to specific provisions contained in the proposal."

What are these provisions? Among others of a technical nature, we read (my emphases):

1. "Quarantine bison, including any offspring, cannot be used for commercial purposes -- i.e., sold as livestock ...."

2. "Quarantine bison (and any offspring) must be managed as native wildlife ... Bison will be public/tribal wildlife (not private) forever."

As you note in your editorial, "under [Turner's] plan, the offspring of the Yellowstone bison could be sold as seed stock for new herds or bred with other bison Turner owns to improve their genetics." However, breeding for seed stock and artificial genetic manipulation to "improve" privately owned, domestic bison are undeniably commercial activities.

In effect, wild Yellowstone bison would become Turner's private, and very profitable, property. Clearly, Turner's application doesn't meet the unequivocal "no-commercialization/no-privatization/public-wildlife-forever" provisions of the RFP.

Because FWP bureaucrats incompetently failed to identify and secure homes for quarantined bison before beginning the (fraudulent) quarantine feasibility study, they're stuck with more bison than they can handle. It's just another example of willful negligence of the public trust by a state wildlife agency -- not to mention the cause of another citizen lawsuit against government for doing something stupid as well as illegal.

ROBERT HOSKINS, Crowheart

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