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Supporting bison

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Last week the Montana Legislature’s committee on Fish, Wildlife and Parks tabled HB482, proposing that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks manage bison “as valued, native wildlife.” Representatives voted along party lines. That’s not the way Montanans vote. Not on the bison issue.

I live among ranchers, Republican and Democrat, on record saying they want bison on their land, alongside their cattle. My Republican and Democratic neighbors, long-time outfitters, passionately support bison.

During the past two legislatures, the committee had to move to larger rooms to accommodate all the supporters of Rep. Mike Phillips’ bills. Citizens supporting HB482 were a huge majority compared with the handful of cattlemen’s associations’ paid lobbyists against it. Where were citizens who wanted to kill this bill?

How come Republicans tabled HB482? Show us one case where wild bison have infected Montana cattle. State the science behind your vote against HB482. Prove to us you value bison.

You want voters to believe Republicans stand for independence and what’s good for Montana. But we citizens want clean air, water and to see wildlife thrive. Too bad Republicans don’t seem to want these things. Your “party lines” alienate Republicans, Democrats, and independent voters, like me.

Ilona Popper

Gardiner

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