[MCN] Dear Senator Daines (Part 2)

John Meyer John at cottonwoodlaw.org
Fri Sep 30 16:16:03 EDT 2016

Dear Senator Daines,

I recently found a photo of you in front of a banner that says “Spending is
the Problem.”

Most Montanans probably do not know this, but for years you and the
Secretary of Agriculture have engaged in a tug of war over the continued
operation of a federal facility known as the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station.
Started 100 years ago, the Sheep Station is located in the Centennial
Mountains of southwest Montana and grazes thousands of domestic sheep at
elevations that push 10,000 feet. The facility costs taxpayers nearly $2
million every year.

There are over 16,000 acres of Sheep Station land in Montana that are
closed to the public for hiking, hunting and camping. Commissioners for MT
Fish, Wildlife and Parks have asked that the area be opened to the public.
The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team has asked the Sheep Station to find
an alternative place to graze its sheep. U.S. Department of Agriculture
Secretary Vilsack sent a letter to Congress announcing his plans to
consolidate the research at the Sheep Station with that of a larger animal
research facility in Nebraska.

Senator Daines, you blocked the consolidation.

Cottonwood Environmental Law Center has been filing lawsuits against the
U.S. Sheep Experiment Station for the past several years. Our lawsuits call
out the Federal Government for lying to the public.

For example, the Federal Government said there had never been a
human/grizzly bear encounter on Sheep Station property in the Centennial
Mountains. Cottonwood received documents through a Freedom of Information
Act request that say domestic sheepherders at the U.S. Sheep Experiment
Station have been “chased” by grizzly bears.

Senator Daines, do you think most Montanans support domestic sheep research
that puts peoples’ lives at risk?

Moving the sheep research to Nebraska would save taxpayers millions of
dollars, reduce the size of our federal government and still provide for
continued sheep research. According to Secretary Vilsack, facility
conditions at the Sheep Station are some of the worst within the entire
Agricultural Research Service. To continue operating the facility, the
government will need to spend between $2 and $4 million to replace corroded
water lines, fix deteriorating buildings and upgrade IT infrastructure.
Consolidating the Sheep Station with the Nebraska facility makes good
economic sense.

The Sheep Station recently submitted a declaration to the District of
Montana stating it would not graze in the Centennial Mountains until it
completes an Environmental Impact Statement. Senator Daines, if the Sheep
Station completes its Environmental Impact Statement and decides to move
its research to the Nebraska facility are you going to pass another rider
to continue spending our tax payer dollars?

Montanans would appreciate a response,

Footnote 1: The Continental Divide Trail crosses land operated by the U.S.
Sheep Experiment Station. Please watch the first 90 seconds of this YouTube
video <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oW2dou_GsAs> to see U.S. Sheep
Experiment Station sheep dogs chasing a hiker on the Continental Divide

Footnote 2: Cottonwood is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
organization. As such we are sending this email to help educate the public
on important matters impacting people and public land in Montana.

[image: Inline image 2]



John Meyer
Executive Director & General Counsel
Cottonwood Environmental Law Center
P.O. Box 412 Bozeman, MT 59771
John at Cottonwoodlaw.org
(406) 546-0149

The information contained herein is privileged and confidential. If you are
not the intended recipient, you must delete this email and inform the
sender of the error.

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