Livestock Loss Bill Funds Nonlethal Predator Controls


by Tom Kuglin, Independent Record

A bill that supporters say is important to the state of Montana for an anticipated federal delisting of grizzly bears has steadily moved through the Legislature, passing the Senate on Tuesday.

Rep. Mike Cuffe, R-Eureka, brought House Bill 145, an act that as amended appropriates $200,000 from the general fund to a special grizzly bear and wolf livestock loss account, with at least half of funding directed toward nonlethal measures. The bill has seen support from often opposing livestock and conservation groups, and limited opposition in both the House and Senate.

“This is an important step to getting the grizzly bear delisted from the Endangered Species Act, protecting jobs and protecting private property rights,” Cuffe said. “We should be celebrating the success of the grizzly and at the same time helping managers cope with loss.”

Cuffe sponsored a similar bill last session only to see it vetoed by Gov. Steve Bullock. Merit was not the reason the bill died, but the governor “rightfully” saw legal problems with a late change in source funding, he said.

“This is one of the few bills that you’ll find this session that has the support of ranchers, hunters and conservationists,” said Jim Brown for the Montana Wool Growers Association. “There should be no reason for it to get caught up this time.”

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Source: Helena Independent Record



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