Saturday, November 10, 2018

Could saving our nation’s natural heritage be the issue that unites a divided country?

"With the nascent success of conservation as a national issue that can turn out voters
and swing campaigns, I hope to see more politicians from both parties
jumping on the public lands bandwagon in 2020 and beyond." 
Democracy Turnout

Statewide and nationwide voting turnout was at record levels. Montana had Registered Voters 711,322, with total turnout at 497,393 or 69.93%. Nationwide saw an increase as well with votes still be counted or recounted in some states.

Currently in the House, there are 226 Democratic seats, 34 being flipped to 197 Republican seats, with 3 being flipped. The Democratic Party currently controls the House, which will affect House Chairs and Committees. The Republicans still control the Senate with 51 seats, 3 being flipped to Democratic seats at 46, one being flipped. On the Governor front, there are still a majority of Republican Governors, 26 with 1 being flipped. But Democratic Governors increased to 23 with 7 being flipped.

Mike Dennison did the work as to what the breakdown means for our Montana legislature: "30-20 Rs in Senate (Dems pick up 2) and 58-42 Rs in House (Dems pick up net 1) -- although provisional ballots could still alter at least one race."

Statewide turnout highest in 24 years for midterm election, Lewis and Clark turnout 74 percent

Public Lands Making the Difference

In New Mexico, Public Lands Turned an Election Blue

This is an interesting article because it highlights Attorney Xochitl Torres Small's path to winning/flipping a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, in a rural district. One of her prominent talking points? Protecting the region's national monument. Torres Small, a hunter, focused on the economic drivers that Public Lands affords, encouraging working together as a community.

She wrote a letter to DOI Sec. Zinke stating, "That's why I support the monument in its entirety. The community invested over a decade to carefully study, document, and negotiate protection of these Wild West lands. The result is a stunning national monument that receives overwhelming local support and attracts national and international acclaim, and the accompanying tourism dollars that come with that. Please, don't interfere with our hard-earned source of local pride. Let us keep our Organ Mountains--Desert Peaks National Monument."
The article continued, "Her Republican opponent, Yvette Herrell, served as a state chairperson for the Koch-backed American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonprofit that has aggressively sought to privatize public lands. 
Torres Small is just one success story in a broader wave of candidates who have embraced protecting our public lands as part of their campaign platforms. With the nascent success of conservation as a national issue that can turn out voters and swing campaigns, I hope to see more politicians from both parties jumping on the public lands bandwagon in 2020 and beyond."

Fossil fuel money crushed clean energy ballot initiatives across the country
Our I-186 went the same way
"For the most part, they did not go well for fans of clean energy. The ones that utilities and oil and gas companies mobilized and spent big against lost. After being boxed out of climate and energy policy at the federal level, the left has turned to states, but at least last night, the states did not deliver much good news."

Zinke is the Cabinet official most vulnerable to Democratic probe, White House fears

"House Democrats such as Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), slated to take the gavel of the House Natural Resources Committee next year, are already gearing up to grill Zinke on his personal conduct and management decisions.

On Wednesday, Grijalva said he and his colleagues want the interior secretary to provide answers on several fronts. Last month, the Interior Department’s acting inspector general, Mary Kendall, referred that inquiry, which is examining whether Zinke used his office for personal gain, to the Justice Department.

'This is our check and balance, our constitutional obligation and our jurisdiction,' Grijalva said. 'Us exercising our oversight and accountability responsibilities is not asking for a war with the administration.' "

On the local Helena Front...

Gayle Joslin, with the Helena Hunters & Anglers sent out a request for contributions to protect big game security on Montana National Forest lands.  Every dollar helps!

HHAA has applied for a Cinnabar challenge grant to engage with the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest (HLCNF) on its pending Forest Plan, to assure that wildlife is not forgotten in this process.  Currently, the HLCNF has dropped ALL STANDARDS for wildlife from the Draft Forest Plan.

When we meet our Cinnabar challenge grant match, we will be able to engage necessary experts to assure that wildlife is represented at least as well as timber and recreation in the new Forest Plan, for the next 30 years.

Previously there were nineteen STANDARDS for big game that protected habitat.  In the pending Forest Plan, there are NONE. A Standard is a mandatory requirement.  It is not discretionary, as are Guidelines.

Please help us meet our match and ensure that wildlife habitat will be secure into the future. 
Mail checks to:
Helena Hunters & Anglers Association
2025 Oro Fino Gulch
Helena, MT 59601
449-2795 for more information

Helena chapter fighting back against dark money effort

According to the City Attorney Thomas Jodoin, the Helena chapter of Move To Amend is on the City Commission meeting schedule, Nov. 19th, for our proposal that Helena adopt a Resolution - an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, by 2/3 vote in both the House and the Senate, stating that money is not Free Speech and corporations are not human beings (Original draft text, there have been some minor changes). Please express your support by attending the meeting to submit a public comment or email a public comment to the Commission. Agenda with Final Resolution text is not posted yet.(check link later for Nov. 19th mtg update)

The Helena City Commission meeting:
November 19, 2018, 6pm-9pm
316 North Park, Avenue, Room 445

Montana Wild Bison Restoration Coalition

The Montana Wild Bison Restoration Coalition just held their 2nd public presentation, this one in Bozeman. Jim Bailey, retired Colorado State University professor of wildlife biology and Montana resident has been leading the charge with the new coalition. Check out their new website for more information, including a growing list of Supporters.

The Coalition's mission: "to enhance public awareness of conservation opportunities for wild, public bison in Montana; and to establish a bison herd on public land and private land where bison are accepted, within and near the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge."

You can contact Jim if you would like to set up a presentation in your area.

Here is the link for their contribution page.

Click to be a Contributor or Subscriber to
Enhancing Montana's Wildlife & Habitat

Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu
Helena, MT