Editor: 

Congress just voted and passed the annual National Defense Authorization Act, though not without some unexpected debates around proposed amendments. The NDAA funds our military operations and readiness and ensures support for programs that affect our troops, military families and veterans.

Because of the “must-pass” nature of this bill, an increasing number of members of Congress tried this year to attach unrelated amendments that serve their own agenda. Recent news articles featured here have talked about this trend, which I find disrespectful to the military and the proud men and women who work hard to keep our country safe. I am particularly pleased that fellow veterans and Governor Mead spoke against this year’s attempt to amend the bill by Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), which specifically targeted greater sage grouse.

Sage grouse have nothing to do with the NDAA. This was not an appropriate vehicle for Bishop’s politically motivated agenda. For Washington D.C. politicians to play fast and loose with legislation that pays our troops is nothing short of shameful, especially when it further proposes unrelated actions that could adversely impact the years of work that have been done out west to manage sage grouse. Fortunately, leaders in sage grouse policy like Governor Matt Mead stepped in and asked leaders in Congress to remove the amendment. Wyoming has been a leader in sage grouse management, finding real solutions to this tough issue. Career politicians in Washington D.C. might take a lesson in solving problems from those of us in the Cowboy State.

I am now retired after having served in the US Air Force for 24 years and have lived in Wyoming since 1986. I’m an avid birder and I would have hated to see legislation that funds the greatest military in the world being used to undermine important policies that recognize the value of our nation’s birds and wildlife.

Thank you, Governor Mead, for your important and steadfast leadership. I hope our next governor takes a page out of your book and continues to lead on sage grouse conservation.

CHARLES SENIAWSKI, Cheyenne

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