Rachel Tilseth: Ron Johnson’s anti-wolf meeting was dirty politics

Capital Times Wednesday August 30, 2017
Dear Editor: Wisconsinites have been subjected to a great deal of political rhetoric regarding the wolf. All this rhetoric is about instilling hate and fear in order to gain support for delisting of the wolf as endangered. It’s best to let scientific fact and public input be the guiding factors in determining the fate of Wisconsin’s wild wolf. But first you’ve got to get past the lack of factual information and politicians’ fearmongering.

Wisconsin voters must remember the saying that there’s no such thing as an honest politician. That saying rings true no matter what political side of the fence you sit on. Politicians are good at agitating on either side of an issue, which in this case is the heated debate of whether to delist the wolf.

I wouldn’t waste any time worrying about the wolf. It’s unscrupulous politicians that we all should be concerned about. Recently, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., held a meeting in Spooner on short notice, inviting only folks that were for wolf delisting, and failing to inform the rest of his constituents about the meeting. His aides ran the Aug. 16 meeting, which was held to drum up support for Senate Bill 1514, the HELP for Wildlife Act, which Johnson is co-sponsoring. This bill calls for delisting the wolf, and has a rider attached to prevent any judicial review of the decision.

Holding a meeting that denied access to all of the public is just dirty politics. This meeting in no way represented the will of the people. Instead it represented the will of politicians with unscrupulous agendas. 
Rachel Tilseth 

Menomonie 

Featured image by Ian McAllister
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Candidate for U.S. Senate, Russ Feingold respects the Endangered Species Act…

Feingold wants to respect the federal judge’s ruling on wolves.
“Species don’t know about state lines,” he said. “The idea that you would have an endangered species law state by state shows frankly no understanding of how species operate and how they live.” Russ Feingold is running against Senator Ron Johnson this November.  Senator Johnson wants wolves delisted and management returned back to Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s management plan includes an aggressive, legislatively mandated wolf hunt that includes; the barbaric methold of wolf hounding, throwing dogs to wolves: “Out of all the states that hunt wolves, only Wisconsin allows hound hunters to use unleashed packs of dogs to hunt wolves. Wisconsin, quite literally, throws “dogs to the wolves.”  Source 

Russ Feingold Campaign
ABOUT RUSS FEINGOLD

Russ Feingold is known for his independence, his honesty and his work ethic on behalf of Wisconsin families. He has always stood up for the middle class families, students and workers who need economic opportunity, often drawing the ire of wealthy special interests and lobbyists.
A lifetime Wisconsin resident, Feingold represented Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate from 1993 to 2011, earning a reputation for doing what’s right, not what’s politically convenient. Whether it was opposing the war in Iraq, serving as an early voice for fiscal responsibility, or being the only Senator to oppose the Patriot Act, Feingold has shown that you can make a difference if you’re willing to speak truth to power.
As one of the namesakes of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, Feingold established himself as a bipartisan voice and an accomplished legislator who is leading the fight against runaway special interest money in American elections.
In Wisconsin, Feingold has been known for truly listening to the people of Wisconsin. Every year as a senator, Feingold visited each of the 72 Wisconsin counties, in an effort to hear what Wisconsin families expect from their government.
He’s worked to improve care for veterans, fought against unfair trade agreements that ship American jobs overseas, and supported the growth of Wisconsin’s economy by listening to Wisconsinites and fighting for their needs.
In an effort to increase opportunity for Wisconsinites, Feingold worked to make college more affordable for Wisconsin students by investing in Pell Grants. He fought to help Wisconsin’s farmers get access to desperately needed credit during the recession and helped expand access to broadband across Wisconsin for small businesses, schools and clinics.
Senator Rus Feingold. Madison, WI. Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. Photo: Christopher Dilts/
After serving in the U.S. Senate, Feingold taught at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Lawrence University in Appleton and Stanford University in California. He served as United States Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo at the State Department. And he founded the group Progressives United to continue his fight against special interest influence in our political system. In 2012 he authored the book While America Sleeps, A Wake Up Call For The Post 9/11 Era.
Feingold’s family settled in Janesville, Wisconsin in 1917. Raised by Sylvia and Leon Feingold, Russ went on to graduate from Janesville Craig High School, UW-Madison and Oxford University, before receiving his law degree from Harvard.

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Featured image John E Marriott Photography 

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

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Featured image by John E Marriott Photography