Charles P. Pierce / Esquire Magazine – 2017-08-28 16:31:29
Freedom Means Shooting Bear Cubs While They’re Hibernating
Charles P. Pierce / Esquire Magazine
“The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.”
— S. Spade, San Francisco.
(August 25, 2017) — Remember all those wonderful photographs of the young princeling Trumplings, posing with the corpses of the handsome animals they’d plugged while on limo safaris around the world? Remember Junior with the elephant’s tail?
Well, if the administration run by their father has anything to say about it, wealthy spalpeens like the two of them are not going to have to go to all the fuss and bother of leaving the country to kill animals more handsome than themselves.
It appears that the US Department of the Interior has decided to turn the National Parks into free-fire zones, the equivalent of taxpayer-funded game ranches similar to the one at which Dick Cheney once ventilated his friend’s face. McClatchy has all the details.
National Park Service Acting Director Michael Reynolds prepared a June 30 memo detailing his agency’s objections to the draft legislation, the “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act.” Under the bill, the National Park Service would be prevented from regulating the hunting of bears and wolves in Alaska wildlife preserves, including the practice of killing bear cubs in their dens.
It also would be prevented from regulating commercial and recreational fishing within park boundaries and from commenting on development projects outside park boundaries that could affect the parks.
Reynolds objected to these and other parts of the bill in a memo sent to the US Department of Interior’s Legislative Counsel. The park service later received a response from Interior, with sections of Reynolds’ concerns crossed out, next to the initials “C.H.”
Agency officials were told they could not repeat their concerns to Congress, according to Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, who obtained the memo and provided a copy to McClatchy.
“It appears the national parks are no longer allowed to give Congress their honest views about the impacts of pending legislation,” said Ruch, whose organization serves as a support network for environmental agency employees and whistle blowers.
First of all, what kind of administration actively discourages input from the people on the ground who know the issue best? (Hint: this kind.) Second, whose fine hand is behind this thoroughgoing exercise in recreational slaughter? Let’s look, shall we?
In this case, the Trump administration is going to bat for the National Rifle Association and sporting groups that have close ties to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Donald Trump Jr. and Trump himself. “Expanding access to National Parks and public lands for hunting, fishing, and recreation is and remains a top priority of this administration,” said Swift.
The NRA and hunting and fishing organizations have lobbied Congress for years to pass versions of the “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act,” also known as the SHARE Act. According to the NRA, the legislation is aimed at improving hunting access on public lands while removing regulations promoted by “animal rights extremists.”
Introduced this year by US Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., the SHARE act includes a controversial standalone bill, the Hearing Protection Act, which would make it easier and cheaper for gun owners to purchase silencers. The House Natural Resources Committee was slated to hear the legislation on June 14, but the hearing was postponed following the congressional shooting in Virginia that day.
And, of course, what would an NRA-backed animal-killing program be without a good healthy dollop of old-fashioned nullification?
Among its provisions, the SHARE act would prevent the National Park Service from regulating hunting in Alaska’s national preserves, including the practice of trapping and shooting bears and wolves in their dens.
Animal welfare groups say the practice is inhumane, but Alaska lawmakers have long held that only state hunting laws should apply in Alaska, even on federal land. They recently succeeded in passing legislation that blocks the US Fish and Wildlife Service from regulating hunting in national wildlife refuges in Alaska.
In his memo to Interior, Reynolds recommended striking out an entire section of the bill pertaining to national preserves in Alaska. He argued the NPS should be allowed to restrict some practices in national preserves that Alaska allows elsewhere.
This includes “taking wolves and coyotes (including pups) during the denning season when their pelts have little trophy, economic or subsistence value, and taking bear cubs or sows with cubs with artificial lights at den sights,” he wrote.
What kind of bloodthirsty moron shoots bear cubs, or hibernating animals? Don’t tell me that’s sporting. I’ll laugh myself silly. What kind of useless bureaucrat goes out of their way to make it easier to do so, and on land that belongs to all of us?
Heather Swift, an Interior Department spokeswoman, rejected that claim. In an email, she said: “At no point did the Department tell the NPS not to communicate with Congress. In fact, the document in question is not even addressed to Congress. The document was an early internal draft meant to express the Department’s position on a legislative proposal.”
Jeremy Barnum, a spokesman for the National Park Service, also rejected the premise that the agency has been directed to not communicate with Congress. Those claims “are false and mischaracterize the process,” he said. “The early draft of the document was sent to a large group as a starting point for discussion and deliberation.”
Ruch said it was his understanding that the “C.H.” stands for Casey Hammond — an Interior political appointee and former House Natural Resources Committee staffer — but that could not be verified.
Hammond was a member of one of the “beachhead teams” dispatched by the new administration to make life miserable for the people in the executive branch who do the actual work of helping to govern the country.
He came there straight off the staff of the House Natural Resources Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, presently in the news for advocating that national monuments be shrunk so as to make more public land open for the extraction industries and, presumably, for people who like to kill things just to watch them die.
Today’s word of the day is “despoil,” and it is general all over this government.
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