There’s No Price Tag on Our Mother Earth…

…Get involved. Protect the earth from unscrupulous land grabbers. In the early 1990s I met activists John Trudell, Floyd Crow Westermman and Walter Bresette at a Protect the Earth Pow Wow held on the Lac Court Oreilles reservation in northern Wisconsin. Back then it was about Native Spearfishing exercising rights off the reservation and Sulfate Mines in ceded territories.

“One Earth, one mother – one does not sell the Earth.” ~John Trudell

I participated in the protests of a gold mine at Ladysmith.  I remember walking into the site, and having to be so careful not to trip over the television new’s crews. The TV crews were laying on the ground filming our feet as we walked by them. I watched as Walter Bresette hit the bulldozers with the war club of the famous Sauk chief Black Hawk. The war club was a gift given to Bresette for his work. I remember helicopters flying over-head watching our every move.

“Oil is drowning our oceans and drowning our boreal forests.” ~Winona LaDuke

Today my activism is about protecting the Gray Wolf. The Gray wolf has become the most talked about animal as of late. Thousands of activists across the world are working to preserve the Gray Wolf’s legacy from unscrupulous land grabbing; special interests that want the wolf as a trophy, and his habitat.

Photograph of Gray wolf credit: NPS

These unscrupulous land grabbers are working to rewrite the Endangered Species Act in order to accommodate the extractive industries of oil & gas, mining and lumber. We cannot afford to lose this fight!

Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, released draft legislation That will significantly overhaul the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Under Barrasso’s proposal, individual states would be given key authority over the federal program to conserve threatened and endangered species.

Earthjustice anticipated Barrasso’s legislative proposal more than a year ago. The environmental law nonprofit said that Barrasso has received substantial campaign contributions from extractive industries that wish to mine or drill land that overlaps with wildlife habitat. Citing campaign finance records, from 2011 until 2016, Barrasso received $458,466 in total campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, plus $241,706 from the mining industry.

The Endangered Species Act, passed by Congress four decades ago, is the nation’s safety net for fish, plants ,and wildlife on the brink of extinction. More than 99 percent of species that have been designated for federal protection continue to exist in the wild today, including the bald eagle, grizzly bear, the leatherback sea turtle, and the Florida manatee.

The valley below the Roan Plateau is dotted by oil and gas development. Photo credit: Ecolight

…That’s the beauty, or bounty, that the Endangered Species Act provides. The ESA ensures these beneficial ecosystems just don’t unravel. You see the Endangered Species Act doesn’t just protect the individual species, it also protects the lands, or habitats, the endangered species need to survive. For sure protecting these habitats can make it difficult for certain industries, mainly extractive industries, such as; oil & gas, mining and lumbering. Renewable energy is out pacing coal, oil & gas extractive industries in America. It’s a well known fact that, extractive industries cause more harm for our vital ecosystems; such as land, water, air and wildlife. But there are several politicians, like Senator Barrasso, Republican from Wyoming, that supports these extractive industries and wants to rewrite the ESA to accommodate these dying-extractive-industries. Read more click here.

How to contact U.S. Senators

You can contact your senators by writing a letter or a message using your senator’s web contact form, by calling, or by visiting. All questions and comments regarding public policy issues, legislation, or requests for personal assistance should be directed to the senators from your state. Please be aware that as a matter of professional courtesy, many senators will acknowledge, but not respond to, a message from another senator’s constituent.

Contacting The Senate

By E-mail

All questions and comments regarding public policy issues, legislation, or requests for personal assistance should be directed to the Senators from your State. Some Senators have e-mail addresses while others post comment forms on their web sites. When sending e-mail to your Senator, please include your return postal mailing address. Please be aware that as a matter of professional courtesy, many Senators will acknowledge, but not respond to, a message from another Senator’s constituent.

By Postal Mail

You can direct postal correspondence to your Senator or to other U.S.Senate offices at the following address:

For correspondence to U.S. Senators:

Office of Senator (Name)

United States Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510

For correspondence to Senate Committees:

(Name of Committee)

United States Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510

By Telephone

Alternatively, you may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

There’s just one genuine wolf species in America 

The gray wolf is a the only wolf species in America and: Wolves should remain protected according to a new study from Princeton-UCLA .  This is a game changer making it vital to protect wolves.  Wolves are here to stay now, and it’s even more important to learn ways to coexist with this imperiled species. 

Researchers from Princeton University and the University of California-Los Angeles who investigated the genetic ancestry of North America’s wild canines have concluded that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s scientific arguments for removing gray wolves from endangered species protection are incorrect.”  Cited source

This Recent news proves how important it is to keep wolves listed under the Endangered Species Act. Wolves are here to stay and it’s vital that humans learn how to coexist. 

Wolves, bats & dirty politics – the ESA was designed to protect species and the ecosystems on which they depend.

Just what does dirty politics have to do with Wisconsin’s bats & wolves?  Ask Senator Ron Johnson (R) why he wants Wisconsin’s Northern Long-eared Bat & the wolf kept off of the Endandaged Species Lists. You’ll find the answer to that question buried deep within political agendas fueled by special interest’s money. It’s all tied to where the wolf and Northern Long-Eared bat live and the protections under the Endangered Species Act. 

The fate of bats and wolves 

Recent news in Wisconsin has Senator Ron Johnson (R) introduced an amendment that would remove wolves from federal Endangered Species Act protections in four states and no judicial review.  

This rider also contained an amendment submitted by Senator Ron Johnson as follows:

  “…submitted an amendment intended to be proposed to amendment SA 2953 proposed by Ms. Murkowski to the bill S. 2012, to provide for the modernization of the energy policy of the United States, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as following: Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service shall not list the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).” Source

The ESA was designed to protect species and the ecosystems on which they depend 

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) was signed on December 28, 1973, and provides for the conservation of species that are endangered or threatened throughout all or a significant portion of their range, and the conservation of the ecosystems on which they depend.” 

Northern Long-eared Bat Listed as Threatened  by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service according to a press release issued on January 13, 2016. 

This action to protect the Northern Long-Eared Bat is due to a disease called White-Nose Syndrome  that has killed millions of north America’s bats since 2006.   

According to U.S. fish & Wildlife Service the reason these bats need ESA protections is: “Unfortunately, this particular bat is one of the species hardest hit by the disease, white-nose syndrome. In forests of the Northeast, population declines have been dramatic in a very short time. Declines of up to 99 percent have been documented through hibernacula surveys and substantiated by summer surveys.”  Source


Northern long-eared bat with symptoms of white-nose syndrome. Photo by Steve Taylor; University of Illinois


What is White-Nose Syndrome?
“White-nose Syndrome (WNS) is a fungal disease that has killed millions of bats in North America. The disease is caused by a fungus from Eurasia, which was accidentally transported here by humans.” Cited from: Bat Conservation International

About the Northern Long-Eared Bat 

“Northern Long-Eared Bat, Myotis septentrionalis, The northern long-eared bat is federally listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Endangered species are animals and plants that are in danger of becoming extinct. Threatened species are animals and plants that are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. Identifying, protecting, and restoring endangered and threatened species is the primary objective of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species program.” Cited from: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Northern Long-eared bats summer in forests living under the bark of trees, and hibernate in caves during winter. Bats are essential for keeping disease ridden insects such as, the mosquito that carries the West Nile Virus in check. The Norther Long-Eared Bat eats moths, flies, leafhoppers, caddisflies, and beetles, which they catch while in flight using echolocation or by gleaning motionless insects from vegetation according to the the U.S. Fish & Wildlife FAQS on Northern Long-Eared Bats.

Wolves like the Northern Long-Eared Bat are essential for the health of our ecosystems 

When wolves were re-introduced into Yellowstone National Park after an absence of nearly 70 years the most remarkable “trophic cascade” occurred. Watch the following video ‘How Wolves Change Rivers’ 

Wolves, bats and dirty politics 

The ESA protects the threatened or endangered species, and the ecosystems on which they depend. So why do politicians, like Senator Ron Johnson (WI-R) want to keep the Northern Long-Eared Bat from being listed as endangered and the wolf delisted from the ESA? 

The answer to that question lies deep within the motives of mineral, lumber, oil & gas and Big Agriculture companies that want this critical habitat for their own special interests. Are these companies lobbying politicians like, Senator Ron Johnson to keep the wolf & the Northern Long-Eared Bat off the ESA?  Shall we allow dirty politics to throw critically endangered species under the bus and undermine decades of environmental progress made under the ESA?  

Senator Ron Johnson (WI-R) is up for re-election this November. Check his record HERE.

We can’t leave people in abject poverty, so we need to raise the standard of living for 80% of the world’s people, while bringing it down considerably for the 20% who are destroying our natural resources.  ~Jane Goodall


Featured image by John E Marriott Photography

Reader’s view: Courts did the right thing for wolf management

Reader’s response to a Duluth News opinion piece by two Wisconsin senators Wisconsinites’ view from D.C.: Wolf policy should recognize people By U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble on Feb 3, 2016 at 12:10 a.m.

Source: Duluth News a Tribune
By E. August Allen from Milford, Conn. Today at 12:10 a.m.

This is in response to the Feb. 3 column from U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, both of Wisconsin and both of whom have led congressional efforts to legislatively delist wolves (“Wolf policy should recognize people”).
Sen. Johnson’s bill served as the Senate companion to the House bill introduced by Congressman Ribble earlier last year to “allow the Great Lakes states to continue the effective work they are doing in managing wolf populations without undermining the Endangered Species Act.” Yet the horrific slaughter of wolves directly after delisting in Wisconsin was an abomination. One would indeed call it “effective work” if the goal was to extirpate the wolves.
In Wisconsin, the population of wolves was just 800 in 2011. In a matter of three years (since delisting), Wisconsin lost at least 518 wolves to legalized hunting, hounding, trapping and annual unenforced quota overkills. The 518 wolves killed did not include wolves killed at the request of livestock operators for “depredation control” (which was 170 wolves), wolves killed on roadways yearly (25), or wolves killed illegally (estimated conservatively at 100 a year). Factor in annual wolf pup mortality at up to 75 percent, and this has been a disaster of catastrophic proportions. Hardly a wolf management plan integrating the “best available science.” This moral bankruptcy and ineptness is not a way to treat a species recently removed from the Endangered Species Act.
History has demonstrated, time and again, that societal values ultimately determine the survival of a species as controversial as the wolf. The “management” of this species evokes a wide range of public attitudes, polarized views and prolonged contention — a prolonged contention that usually is followed by this sort of mismanagement. There is a reason the courts returned protections to Wisconsin’s wolves, and I believe that reason is quite obvious.
E. August Allen
Milford, Conn.