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Governor Listens to Constituents, Vetoes Anti-Bison Bill


Date : May 5, 2015

Contact: Melanie Gade: mgade@defenders.org ; (202) 772-0288

Governor Listens to Constituents, Vetoes Anti-Bison Bill



HELENA, Mont. --  A bill that would have given control of state bison management to county politicians instead of state Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists – a proposal rejected by three-fourths of Montanans according to recent polling –  was vetoed yesterday by Montana Governor Steve Bullock.  The move was applauded by Native American tribes, conservation organizations and hunters who strongly opposed the bill citing concerns that it would have created a patchwork of inconsistent laws across the state, wreaking havoc on wild bison restoration in Montana and undermining state wildlife management authority.



A public opinion survey released in January showed 76 percent of Montanans support restoring bison populations on public lands and 78 percent support restoring wild bison populations on tribal lands. The same survey also tested public support for the legislation at hand and found the majority of Montanans oppose it: 74 percent agreed that Montana should have a consistent statewide approach to managing wild bison, just as it does for managing deer, elk and other wildlife.



Steve Forrest, Defenders’ Senior Representative for Rockies and Plains, issued the following statement:



“The bill vetoed yesterday would have significantly undercut efforts to restore bison in Montana by giving politicians the authority to block wild bison restoration instead of leaving those decisions to state Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists and the people of Montana.



“We thank Governor Bullock for listening to the majority of Montanans who strongly support bringing bison back to their historic home on the Great Plains.”






Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org.