You may recall that a similar denial was made when the Missouri River Breaks Monument was first proposed which encompassed 377,000 acres of which approximately 82,000 acres is privately owned and around 39,000 acres is owned by the State of Montana. Contrary to the assurances the BLM gave the ranchers in the breaks back in 2001 President Clinton with a single stroke of the pen on his last day in office used the antiquities act of 1906 to designate this area a National Monument in spite of the vast opposition voiced at that time. Is it any wonder that the farmers and ranchers now doubt that BLM director Bob Abbey is being entirely truthful when he says that the leaked 21 page internal BLM “concept” document was just for “internal” discussion? This “concept” document outlined plans for various national monuments which included a plan that would include much of northern Montana. Are there plans afoot to render all of Montana as a national park?
As usual it appears that HDN reporter Timmie Leeds has once again given his readers a slightly “skewed” version of the facts.
Here is a report by KRTV
The Northern Ag Network has this interview with BLM director Bob Abbey
Additional footage and a full report can be found on the Northern Ag Network website here
What we find most interesting about the Thursday HDN coverage of the Malta meeting (found here) is that reporter Timmie Leeds failed to even mention that our House District 34 Representative Wendy Warburton was in attendance at this meeting and in fact was reported to be standing right next to him during most of the meeting. What was up with that little oversight?
Well never mind that as we have Warburton's full statement to BLM director Abbey printed here
Here's what Representative Wendy Warburton told BLM Director Bob Abbey
at the meeting in Malta last week:
Director Abbey, Welcome and thank you for traveling to Montana to hear the concerns of Montana citizens regarding the possible treasured landscapes national monument in Phillips County.
I represent several thousand citizens in neighboring
counties--northern Hill and Blaine Counties--in the Montana
Legislature. I grew up on a ranch in Blaine County.
I won't repeat all the excellent points already made, but I concur
with them, and I want to assure you that there is widespread
opposition to a new national monument and/or bison range in north
central Montana. As you can see, this opposition comes not only from
the residents of Phillips County, but the vast majority of their
neighbors across this region of the state stand with them. I would in
fact feel confident in stating that the majority of citizens across Montana oppose such monuments and feel that the federal government has more than enough control over more than enough land already in Montana.
While I understand that information about this possible designation
has been called merely brainstorming, there is great concern about the
fact that such activity generally precedes action, and such must
certainly have been the case prior to President Clinton's Antiquities
Act proclamation of the nearby Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument without legislative process or local support.
Representative Stahl correctly noted that these days, people in this
area fear the government. It's not supposed to be that way. In a free
country, the government is supposed to fear the people. I stand here today on behalf of of my constituents to firmly oppose
this monument or any such monument anywhere in north central Montana.
Generations of Montana ranching families have done a great job
preserving the grasslands of Montana's northern plains. They will
continue to do so. Until we can get the Antiquities Act fundamentally
changed or get Montana exempted from it, I'd like you to give us your
word tonight that you will do all in your power to kill this or any
other north central Montana monument or land grab dead.
Thank you.Interestingly Congressman Rehberg blew the whistle on this secret plan some months ago and you may recall that our very own "No Ear-Marks Ever" Tester poo-pooed the whole affair and said there was no evidence of any leaked "concept" papers from the BLM. Now that it has come to light where are Tester and Baucus? Also keep in mind the fact that Congress has no say in this matter and President Obama can designate any area in the nation as a national monument just as President Clinton did with the Missouri River Breaks without any say from anyone including BLM director Abbey..
And that Folks.................Is the rest of the story!