New rules awful for public lands
July 12, 2006
Dear Editor:Thank you for your article revealing new Forest Service rules (“Outfitter decries new predator control rules,” July 9) that would permit aerial gunning and sodium-cyanide traps in wilderness areas to kill bears, wolves, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions and other animals. I would like to point out, though, that the Forest Service spokesman quoted in the article either has not read the new rules or has somehow mixed them up with the old ones.You report that Forest Service spokesman Jim Maxwell said “animals would be killed only to solve serious problems.” That is an accurate characterization of the old rule, but it is not what the new rules say. The new rules permit local collaborative groups to set “objectives” for predator hunting in wilderness areas, and these objectives need have nothing at all to do with whether or not livestock are being attacked.Maxwell also said the new rules “wouldn’t target large populations but would use a surgical focus on one animal.” Again, that is a correct characterization of the old rules, but not the new ones. Under the old rules only the “offending animal” could be targeted; the new rules, by contrast, permit entire “local populations” of these animals to be shot, killed in their dens, or poisoned with cyanide.I can understand why the Forest Service would not want to be entirely forthcoming about just how awful these new rules are for our public lands, but perhaps they should remain silent about them rather than telling the public things that are provably wrong. Readers can find links to the old rules, the new rules, and the Center for Biological Diversity’s analysis of the rules at http://www.predatorcontrol.org.Erik RybergStaff attorneyCenter for Biological DiversityTucson, Ariz.