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HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 4
INTRODUCED BY A. WALTERS
A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA OBJECTING TO THE RELEASE OF GRIZZLY BEARS INTO THE SELWAY-BITTERROOT WILDERNESS AND FRANK CHURCH RIVER-OF-NO-RETURN WILDERNESS; URGING AN END TO CONTROL OF GRIZZLY BEAR POPULATION MANAGEMENT BY THE UNITED STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE AND THE RETURN OF GRIZZLY BEAR MANAGEMENT TO THE FISH AND GAME AGENCIES OF THE AFFECTED STATES; REQUESTING REMOVAL OF THE GRIZZLY BEAR FROM THE LIST OF THREATENED OR ENDANGERED SPECIES BASED UPON EVIDENCE OF POPULATION VIABILITY; AND URGING THE ACCEPTANCE OF LIABILITY FOR DAMAGES FROM THE GRIZZLY BEAR RECOVERY PROGRAM BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT IF INTRODUCTION MEASURES ARE UNDERTAKEN SUCCESSFULLY.
WHEREAS, it is widely believed that the grizzly bear is classified as "threatened" or "endangered" only as a result of an arbitrary designation of habitat areas by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and that the grizzly bear is, in reality, neither "threatened" nor "endangered" because the State of Montana successfully maintained a viable, breeding population of grizzly bears for years prior to the arbitrary USFWS classification; and
WHEREAS, grizzly bear populations continue to thrive, breeding and maintaining their populations in suitable habitat in other areas; and
WHEREAS, the habitat in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness is considered to be an inadequate ecosystem for supporting grizzly bears; and
WHEREAS, predation by grizzly bears is known to impose uncompensated costs and hazards to livestock growers and other citizens; and
WHEREAS, enforcement by federal agencies of arbitrary and capricious rules and regulations devised to exclude any real or imagined intrusion or disturbance to grizzly bears in recovery areas has caused the loss of many millions of dollars in personal and corporate income, the loss of many jobs, the displacement of families, the loss of needed revenue to the State of Montana, and the virtual closing of large areas of national forest land in Montana to traditional uses, such as lumbering, driving for pleasure, gathering firewood, and berry picking; and
WHEREAS, the Selway-Bitterroot and Frank Church River-of-No-Return wilderness complex is the only remaining wilderness in the geographical area where wilderness travelers can pursue a wilderness experience without fear of encountering grizzly bears; and
WHEREAS, introduction of grizzly bears into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness will complicate or further frustrate efforts to increase populations of anadromous salmon that traditionally spawn in the rivers and streams of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness; and
WHEREAS, introduction of grizzly bears into the Selway-Bitterroot and Frank Church River-of-No-Return wilderness complex will further increase the rate of bear predation of the northern Idaho elk herd, a herd that is an important asset to outfitters, guides, and residents of western Montana and northern Idaho; and
WHEREAS, social benefits derived from the bear introduction program are drastically out of proportion to the costs to the public of capturing, transporting, examining, releasing, monitoring, and otherwise managing an introduced population of grizzly bears, and those funds are more urgently needed to help finance real and essential social programs; and
WHEREAS, programs undertaken under the authority of Public Law 93-205, the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, including the grizzly bear recovery program, place the lives, property, and freedom of local citizens and visitors in jeopardy of the wrath of the United States government in the event of accidental or mistaken actions by citizens that could be judged as infringement on a listed species or the habitat of a listed species and further expand the body of laws and regulations of which United States citizens might become victims when applied.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
(1) That grizzly bears not be released into the Selway-Bitterroot and Frank Church River-of-No-Return wilderness complex as part of the federal grizzly bear recovery program.
(2) That control of grizzly bear populations by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service be ended and that the management of grizzly bears within the borders of Montana and Idaho be returned to the fish and wildlife agencies of those respective states.
(3) That the grizzly bear be removed from the list of threatened or endangered species, based on evidence of the viability of grizzly bear populations in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska, and Canada.
(4) That if the United States government persists in its proposal to introduce grizzly bears into the Selway-Bitterroot and Frank Church River-of-No-Return wilderness complex and succeeds in placing grizzly bears in those areas, the United States government be held financially liable for any damages to livestock and other domestic animals and to property, for loss of life, and for personal injury arising from the actions of the grizzly bears and of United States government agents engaged in the grizzly bear recovery program, including economic losses suffered by individuals or communities as a result of actions related to the program.
(5) That the Secretary of State send copies of this resolution to the members of the Montana and Idaho Congressional Delegations, the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the President of the United States Senate, and the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
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