Press Release: Buffalo Allies of Bozeman Urges Passage of Montana HB 253
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2009
Montana Wild Buffalo Recovery and Conservation Act of 2009 would restore bison in Montana as valued, native wildlife and would remove management from state Department of Livestock.
HB 253 has three main facets. It will:
- 1. Restore buffalo as "valued, native wildlife in the state of Montana."
2. Restore Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks' authority for management of wild bison including fair chase, public hunting.
3. Ensure private property rights and livestock are protected, by maintaining cooperation with the Department of Livestock.
Glenn Hockett, volunteer president of the Gallatin Wildlife Association and member of Buffalo Allies of Bozeman, explains the significance of the bill, “In 2009, Montana citizens have an opportunity to lead the way, putting years of wasteful and divisive wild buffalo management behind us. The Montana Wild Buffalo Recovery and Conservation Act of 2009 is a bi-partisan first step toward returning bison management to wildlife professionals, while respecting and protecting property rights.” In addition to Rep. Phillips, a Democrat, Hockett mentioned the support of Rep. Ted Washburn, a Republican, on the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee, where the bill currently resides.
Buffalo Allies of Bozeman has urged the public to contact their state legislators by calling 444-4800, especially those on the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee. Additionally, the group urges Montana residents to attend and speak at the committee hearing on HB 253, currently scheduled for Thursday, January 29, at 3PM, in the state capitol in Helena, in Hearing Room 303.
Members of Buffalo Allies of Bozeman have expressed concern that neither Gov. Schweitzer nor Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has signed on to support the bill. Mark Genito of Buffalo Allies of Bozeman is perplexed, “How can Montana claim to value wildlife, as bison are designated under Montana law, and yet continue to support their management by the livestock industry? I think a lot of Montana citizens would be dismayed to discover that their wildlife agencies are not in charge of their wildlife and that their Governor continues to support an anachronistic approach to wild buffalo.” If they fail to support HB 253, Genito warns that they will be held accountable and that bison advocates are already anticipating and meeting on ways to make that happen, including protests and public hearings on alternative approaches. “We can’t continue to beat our heads with these people while wild buffalo continue to die at the Montana border.”
Buffalo Allies of Bozeman meets every Wednesday at 7 PM at Montana State University’s Strand Union Building. For more information on Buffalo Allies of Bozeman, as well as HB 253, please visit: http://www.buffaloallies.org.