Letters to the Editor – 9.5.13

Response to the article on big horn sheep relocation, important questions for Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Dear Editor,

In response to the article about relocating the big horn sheep, I would like to add a few details that were excluded. The sheep that would be relocated from the southern Madison Mountain Range near Quake Lake to Indian Creek are from an over populated herd (this was not mentioned in the article at all). This was told to me in a meeting with Fish, Wildlife and Parks by their biologist on July 8 when they proposed the project to the C B Ranch. The sheep numbers have been mismanaged to the point where they are beyond a sustainable population. The relocation project is an attempt at repairing Fish, Wildlife and Park’s mismanagement. The C B Ranch was informed that FWP has two options. The first option is to attempt to capture 40-50 sheep and then transport them in a horse trailer to Indian Creek. Then, provided they have received permission, FWP would cross two separate private properties where they would not be releasing the big horn sheep into the Lee Metcalf Wilderness but on the front lawn of the Wonder Ranch. The second option is to destroy an appropriate number to reduce the herd to a reasonable size. In future articles regarding this project, I hope that FWP will address why the big horn sheep became extinct in the 1960s in the Indian Creek area. Also, I would hope they would address the over population in the herd near Quake Lake and what precautions they will take to prevent this from recurring. Is this relocation a solution to their problem in the south Madison range or is this relocation the beginning of entirely new problem?

Kate Roberts

C B Ranch

Just say no to corporate tax subsidies, talk to your commissioners

Dear Editor,

How many ways are there to redistribute your wealth?  I am not sure, but the latest method discussed at the regular Madison County Commissioners’ Meeting last Wednesday was a tax abatement for Garnett USA.  There were the usual players: a Helena attorney; an investment banker; Chief Operations Manager; and, oh yes, the out-of-state company spokesperson.  The carrot is $10 million of new investment to expand facilities in Alder, Mont. And, according to the CEO, it will create as many as 60 new jobs.  Yes, the temptation is great and my initial senses tell me that it is too great for our commissioners to resist, but let’s hope not.  After all, this is real economic growth I was told.  And the law provides for it under MCA 15-something-something.  The problem I have with this is simple.  It doesn’t matter whether our Legislature gives public officials a tool to stimulate economic growth in their community, or not.  It simply is not right to use that same tool to destroy or place at a disadvantage one business over another.  The Montana Legislature passes many statutes that have unintended consequences and the only safeguard once passed is local authority, moral fortitude, and the common sense to politely say “no”.  It is not because economic growth is not important, it is because taking from one to subsidize another is not economic growth – it is stealing, and it violates the principles of which we hold dear.  The individual right to own property; to risk and invest; prosper or lose.  (I, for one, do not consent to collectively invest in this corporation.)  One must ask, “Is the margin for profit so slim in this industry that its success relies upon stealing from their neighbors through the abuse of misguided authority?”  Or, is this simply a matter of taking because you apparently can?  An old farmer once lamented regarding subsidies – “If they’re stupid enough to give it away, I’m smart enough to take it”.  Don’t be stupid, call your County Commissioners and tell them the same – just say no to corporate tax subsidies.

Bob Wagner


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