Why is a Swiss Billionaire Calling the Shots in Montana?

“Green Decoy” environmental groups funded by a Swiss billionaire and other Left wing backers are apparently calling the shots at the US Bureau of Land Management in Montana, according to two newspaper reports. 

You may recall my previous posts on the Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss, who has donated millions of dollars to the effort to buy out cattle ranches in Northcentral and Northeastern Montana.  (For reference: The Billionaires Battling Ranchers in Montana )

The Environmental Policy Alliance and Media Trackers Montana have also documented donations from that same Swiss billionaire to “green decoy” environmental groups posing as “sportsmen” groups in order to advance an environmental agenda and shut down access on public lands in Montana.

Now, two major Montana newspapers apparently decided to print the talking points of these very same “green decoy” groups without soliciting any reaction from lawmakers, farmers, ranchers, and others who actually live in the impacted areas.   

According to the reports, it also looks as though these groups are carrying an inordinate amount of influence over the BLM in Montana. 

The Billings Gazette: BLM’s Hi-Line district plan modified to include new area

A plan that will guide management of 2.4 million federal acres in northern Montana has been modified to include 5,000 additional acres as “land with wilderness characteristics.”

Bureau of Land Management staff altered the Hi-Line District Resource Management Plan after the Montana Wilderness Association pointed out two areas the agency had missed in its initial inventory.

The final plan will add Lena Creek, located north of Fort Peck Reservoir. In addition, the BLM plan also includes 74,000 acres in two other wilderness study areas, Bitter Creek and Burnt Lodge, that will continue to be managed as wilderness study areas.

The Great Falls Tribune: Hunting groups press BLM to protect more backcountry  (should have added “hunting” groups in quotes)

Others who participated were officials with the Montana Wildlife Federation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and Dan Vermillion, the owner of Sweet Water Travel and chairman of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission.

The proposed BLM plan includes several alternatives for managing 2.4 million acres along the Hi-Line in northern Montana from Glacier County along the Rocky Mountains east to sage brush country in Valley County, and south to the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.

In the draft plan, 386,000 acres were identified has having wilderness characteristics.

According to the Environmental Policy Alliance in this previous Flint Report post:

    -“Montana Wildlife Federation has taken over $1.2 million from the Wyss Foundation, a group founded by a Swiss billionaire, and supports efforts to designate millions of acres as national monuments. Its national affiliate has taken millions from a green foundation funded by a shady Bermuda entity.”

    -Montana Hunters and Anglers ‘functioned almost like a dark money group,’ using cash from California and Washington, D.C. liberals to influence Montana elections and elect politicians sympathetic to their environmentalist aims.”

    -Of Montana Sportsmen Alliance’s endorsements for the 2014 state legislative elections, 92 percent went to Democrats. It was also one of the first groups to endorse far-left U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis, who has ties to a communist labor organization.”

The Wyss Foundation is the private charity organization of Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss. Wyss is a board member for the left-wing Center for American Progress.

Looking at one story in two major newspapers in Montana today is exactly what is wrong with our system right now. Huge…

Posted by Aaron Flint on Thursday, May 14, 2015

Previous story from Bloomberg.com: Bison Loving Billionaires Rile Ranchers with Land Grab

The organization’s donor roll reads like a who’s who of the ultrarich: billionaire candy heirs Forrest Mars Jr. and his brother, John (combined net worth: $44 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index); German retail baron Erivan Haub ($4.9 billion); the foundation of Swiss medical device mogul Hansjoerg Wyss ($12.4 billion); and Susan Packard Orr, daughter of the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Co. and chairwoman of the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, which has assets of $5.6 billion.

A previous Great Falls Tribune story from 2010 can also be found at NorthernAg.Net: Rumors of Nat’l Monuments in Montana Continue

An internal U.S. Department of the Interior document identifying 14 new sites for possible national monument designation was leaked to congressional Republicans earlier this year, giving some folks across the West flashbacks of President Bill Clinton’s last days in office.

According to the Tribune’s review, high-ranking officials at the BLM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service have been working for nearly a year on a series of “vision documents” outlining Salazar’s “Treasured Landscapes” public land conservation initiative. The leaked monument memo is a seven-page snippet from BLM’s contribution to that initiative process.

The document, authored by BLM Director Robert Abbey and members of his staff, identifies 2.5 million acres in Montana for possible monument designation. Known as the Bitter Creek and Montana Glaciated Plains grasslands, the area in question stretches from the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge to the edges of Grasslands National Park at the Canadian border and takes in huge swaths of Phillips and Valley counties.

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