by Stephen Capra
Another week has passed by and those on the New Mexico State Game Commission are busy doing what they do best-destroying wildlife in our state. At the recent commission meeting in Roswell, the commission heard from the Game and Fish Department and their request to renew a $900,000 grant to study non-game species, something the agency had received for the past three years. The commission then made clear that they would not support the renewal. Why? Well, because getting funding of this type could harm ranchers or oil and gas interests.
So let’s get this straight: a Commission designed to protect wildlife, or at least regulate wildlife, turns down almost a million dollars in funding to study non-game species and their reason is the impact such studies could have on ranchers and oil and gas interests.
Such actions are really acts of treason against wildlife, that is clear—but never in my memory have we had a commission with this level of delusion and chutzpah related to the killing and destruction of wildlife in our state. The person responsible for all of this is Commission Chair, Paul Kienzle III, the person put in place to represent our governor Susana Martinez, who is covered in the blood of innocent animals.
This is by far the most radical commission we have ever encountered, and they continue to move forward with their anti-wildlife agenda, despite growing outrage and protest. Bears are being slaughtered across our state, and the science being used to justify it is pure junk. Wolves are being denied freedom: the agency has stopped Ted Turner from using his ranch as a staging area. Counties, at the request of the Commission, are now coming out with meaningless proclamations stating wolves cannot be released in their county: all to threaten the US Fish and Wildlife Service and make them back away from reintroduction.
We have talked for some time about this situation and recently I met with State Senator Peter Wirth. Peter shared with me his frustration with this situation and agreed that change to this commission must come and reform overall was essential.
The upcoming legislative session is only 30 days this year; that leaves little time for the introduction of real reform. We will get a Memorial on the issue, but time is not on our side. However, 2017 is a very different situation. That gives us the time to continue organizing our business, community and religious support to stop this commission and reform it.
The suggestion Senator Wirth gave was to restructure the NM State Game Commission much like the State Investment Council, which allows the Governor and the legislature to share appointments, resulting in a more balanced governing body for wildlife, with real conservation appointments. Commission reform is essential, but removing politics from it entirely is not likely to happen any time soon. But Senator Wirth made it clear that reforms at the State Investment Council are working and they are now far removed from the political interference that had caused so many problems.
So it would appear that we at last have a model that could bring change that removes the monopoly ranchers and oil and gas interests have held for generations on this commission.
We must make reform a priority and we must push back against people like Mr. Kienzle who are true believers in the republican ideal of using our lands and wildlife only for profit, dismissing the beauty and innocence that lies beyond the first tree.
Bold Visions Conservation continues to push for reform of Game and Fish and disbandment of its commission. We need your help: your donations help us to hit the streets and get more people and businesses signed to our growing coalition; it also is essential to finishing our film on Commission Reform for educating the public. We also need volunteers who can donate time to visit businesses and help us get them signed on as opposing this Governor’s agenda, and pushing to reform the commission. We need more than 500 businesses and one thousand would be great.
Finally, whether you are a business owner, or simply a concerned an individual, please visit our website and sign on!
Bold Visions Conservation