Lawsuits loom as agencies ponder grizzly bear recovery

With grizzly-bear recovery potentially complete in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, agencies are daring to plan for a time when most bears are under state control.

A lot of balls remain in the air as the Interagency Grizzly Bear Executive Committee met to consider its next five-year plan. The committee is juggling the pending delisting of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population and the myriad of challenges posed by the six other regions of grizzly recovery in the Northwest.

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Montana's enviro writers accused of campaign violations

A Helena Republican claims 40 of Montana’s top writers and their supporters violated federal election laws during the recent special election for Montana’s Congressional representative.

Recently, the writers, photographers and dozens of supporters received letters from the Federal Election Commission informing them that Joe Dooling, Chair of the Lewis and Clark County Republican committee, had filed a complaint accusing them of multiple campaign violations. Dooling also ran for but lost a state senate race in a Helena district to Jill Cohenour in 2014.

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FWP commission rejects Quiet Waters proposal

After almost a year of consideration and comment, a proposal to save some of Montana’s streams from the technological toys of the future has been defeated.

While considering the Quiet Waters Initiative on Friday, the three new members of the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission had their first taste of the contentiousness that can flare up in response to fish and wildlife proposals. Although the commission was originally scheduled to vote on the initiative, Chairman Dan Vermillion proposed to once again extend the public comment period to gather more information and give those new commissioners a chance to better acquaint themselves with the issue prior to voting. So that’s the thing he asked people to comment on.

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New owner of Stillwater Mine must remain a good neighbor

Last week’s purchase of the Stillwater Mining Company puts one more Montana mine in foreign hands. Fortunately, a citizen-crafted agreement will keep the new company from being environmentally irresponsible.

On May 4, the Stillwater Mining Company finalized about six months of negotiations and agreed to sell $2.2 billion worth of assets to Sibanye Gold Limited, a South African gold mining company. The buyout helped Stillwater transfer $500 million worth of debt it had accumulated since the 2008 recession.

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FWP: Wolves to be managed like other game

The two new members of the Fish, Wildlife & Parks commission got off to an easy start on Friday with minimal public comment on wolves, lions and grizzly bears. But wolves still sparked discussion.

Commission chair Dan Vermillion praised an FWP proposal to finally include wolves in the regular season-setting agenda that comes before the commission every two years.

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Gov vetoes bill easing Board of Outfitters requirements

Hunting guides and outfitters will have to continue recording details of clients' hunts after the defeat of a bill backed by Montana Outfitters and Guides.

On Monday, the last day before the bill would have become law without his signature, Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed Senate Bill 264. SB 264 would have reduced the information collected by the Montana Board of Outfitters to only that required to justify outfitter licensing. In other words, details regarding clients’ names, trip dates, and animal species, sex and location would be eliminated.

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