top
Newswire
Calendar
Features
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: California | North Bay / Marin | U.S. | Animal Liberation | Environment & Forest Defense
California’s Rep. Huffman Joins Anti-Public Lands Zealot to Evict Elk From Point Reyes
by Center for Biological Diversity
Friday Aug 31st, 2018 11:25 AM
Legislation Enshrines Private Cattle Ranching in National Seashore
POINT REYES, Calif., August 30, 2018 — Reps. Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Rob Bishop (R-Utah) introduced legislation this week to cut the public out of management plans for public lands and wildlife at Point Reyes National Seashore. H.R. 6687 would enshrine private cattle ranching and evict native tule elk from large portions of the park in California’s Marin County.

“It’s disturbing to see Rep. Huffman teaming up with a political extremist who hates public lands to evict native elk from one of America’s most beautiful national parks,”
said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Huffman’s alliance with Bishop furthers the right-wing’s attempt to weaken protections for America’s public lands so that corporations can exploit them. It’s deeply disappointing to see him joining this dangerous movement.”

The legislation would require the Interior Department to “maintain working dairies and ranches on agricultural property” in the park and give private commercial interests 20-year leases for cattle grazing. It also orders eviction of tule elk from ranch lease areas.

The reintroduction of tule elk to the Point Reyes peninsula has so far been a success story for conservation of native species and restoring ecosystem processes, one of the primary missions of the National Park Service. Point Reyes is the only national park with tule elk.

The Drakes Beach elk herd, which Huffman wants to remove, is one of two free-roaming herds in the park. Letting elk roam free is critical to their survival. More than half the elk in the Tomales Point herd, which is fenced in on a peninsula to appease ranchers, died during a recent drought due to a lack of water and food.

Huffman and Bishop’s bill circumvents the public planning process underway at Point Reyes, after more than 3,000 people have submitted comments. In 2017 conservationists, ranchers, and the Park Service agreed on a four-year plan to address controversial cattle ranching and tule elk issues at Point Reyes through a public environmental review process and an amendment to the National Seashore’s General Management Plan. The public was to have input and the plan would have taken an in-depth look at the ecological impacts of cattle ranching and other land uses.

Huffman and Bishop’s end-run around the public process constrains management of the Seashore to prioritize commercial uses and prevents the Park Service from considering a range of management alternatives.

“Huffman and Bishop’s bill would deny all Americans the opportunity to weigh in on how their public parklands should be managed and protected,” Miller said. “That’s to be expected from Bishop, but it’s baffling Huffman would team up with one of the country’s biggest enemies of public lands to short-circuit the public process for Point Reyes that ranchers, conservationists and the Park Service agreed upon.”

Bishop is one of the most anti-environmental members of Congress and has led efforts to gut protections for public lands, wildlife, endangered species, oceans and marine mammals. Bishop has repeatedly tried to dismantle the Endangered Species Act and led efforts to gut the Antiquities Act. Bishop was the recipient of the Center’s 2017 Rubber Dodo Award for his extremist agenda to give away public lands and kill off endangered species.


The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.


https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2018/Point-Reyes-elk-08-30-2018.php