Caribou Gear Tarp

Montana's Attorney General

By all means, please educate me if I’m wrong. I’ve enjoyed access on several, and the access portion is typically a large reason the acquisitions enjoy strong public support. What am I missing?

Habitat Montana easements mandates access through rule. There is no statutory requirement for access. As such, FWP has broad parameters in which they can define access and how it fits with the easement management plan. I'm not surprised to hear of Eric's experience as many of the folks working on this have an obligation to get as much access as possible but that can oftentimes lead to bad conservation outcomes depending on the management plan of the rancher/farmer, or what the land can bear regarding hunter pressure. Other easements, such as the Sage Grouse conservation easements, do not require access as any component of the easement. FWP also has access easements under the Upland Game Bird Habitat Enhancement Program, Migratory Bird program, and the WHIP program.

WHIP was signed into law by Steve Bullock in 2017 & the PAL Act was negotiated by Bullock's FWP (Dustin Temple, actually) and signed into law by Bullock in 2019. That program recently hit 500,000 acres of previously landlocked public land being opened for walk-in access. Schweitzer's FWP did a fantastic job working on getting wolves delisted, decreasing hunter pressure during archery seasons, enacting large land purchases like Spotted Dog, the Marias River WMA, securing over $10 million for fishing access sites and a similar amount for the MT Legacy project that has added almost a million acres of former timber lands to the public estate. Bullock's heavy use of Habitat MT helped achieve significant conservation goals in terms of securing permanently protected habitat for wildlife management and family agriculture through conservation easements, enacting the first wolf hunt, lossening of wolf regulations, WHIP & PALA. While Gov. Gianforte hasn't used the Habitat MT program as heavily as those previous governors, he has been a champ for some pretty important projects as well (Big Snowies, Garrity MTn, etc).

In terms of which administration was best, you have to look at the legislature as well as the administrations. Since 2011, the legislature has been controlled by the republican party, and as such, they've used the legislature as a method to try and thwart the efforts of the democratic administrations. That's not a judgement call, just an observed fact.
Per Austin (whom I do like personally and have always thought he was smarter than people give him credit for), he was a supporter of the transfer and sale of public lands, supported defunding Habitat Montana, supported efforts to undermine conservation programs and as speaker, helped set a combative tone around the issues we care about.

Having said all that, he will easily get re-elected so folks can either try and find a way to work with him, or prepare for combat. The Attorney General has never hidden his beliefs relative to conservation & public lands. He's run on those and won easily in 2020.
 
Resent news article about the complaint. My personal uninformed opinion is that attorneys like to argue a lot.

Complaint against Austin Knudsen: Knowns, and unknowns | KECI https://nbcmontana.com/news/local/complaint-against-austin-knudsen-knowns-and-unknowns
This is a repost of the original article at the beginning of this thread.

Returning from a weekend of hunting, I'm enjoying reading through this spirited discussion on what it means to be a Montana hunter or a proponent of public lands; and also, somehow, the nature and value of conservation easements.

I've had plenty of people tell me they think the AG is a nice enough guy, but there is a big difference between "being a nice guy" and standing up for positions that are better for a given cause. Historically, Montana is known for having nice people on both sides of the fence. National politics and political refugees have poisoned the well a bit, but overall that still holds true.

I do like to argue a lot (thanks!), but I'm usually pretty happy to grab a beer with my opponents when the dust settles.
 
This is a repost of the original article at the beginning of this thread.

Returning from a weekend of hunting, I'm enjoying reading through this spirited discussion on what it means to be a Montana hunter or a proponent of public lands; and also, somehow, the nature and value of conservation easements.

I've had plenty of people tell me they think the AG is a nice enough guy, but there is a big difference between "being a nice guy" and standing up for positions that are better for a given cause. Historically, Montana is known for having nice people on both sides of the fence. National politics and political refugees have poisoned the well a bit, but overall that still holds true.

I do like to argue a lot (thanks!), but I'm usually pretty happy to grab a beer with my opponents when the dust settles.

You do come across as a person knowledgeable in political gamesmanship. Most people are not single issue voters, however. If there is one single issue in Montana above all others, it would have to be the 2nd amendment. I have heard Knudsen a couple times on the local Missoula call in show, and he is solid on law enforcement, and the 2nd amendment. I agree with Ben that he will easily win re-election in 2024.
What beer do you like to drink?
 
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I thought the part about the homeschooler bringing a ballot initiative to eliminate law school as a prerequisite for passing the bar amusing; probably watching a little too much Suits.

In regards to the legal wrangling, are these billable hours? If so, who is paying?
 
You do come across as a person knowledgeable in political gamesmanship. Most people are not single issue voters, however. If there is one single issue in Montana above all others, it would have to be the 2nd amendment. I have heard Knudsen a couple times on the local Missoula call in show, and he is solid on law enforcement, and the 2nd amendment. I agree with Ben that he will easily win re-election in 2024.
What beer do you like to drink?
I don't know how knowledgeable I am, but I care about this stuff haha. I'd say I'm more like a bull in a china shop. Not afraid to break some things getting to the bottom of issues, and I've been humbled plenty on this forum and elsewhere.

And yes, Knudsen has a very good chance of winning again, unless voters start paying attention to all the issues. That's why it is worth raising them in places like this. I still have faith in my fellow Montanans, for better or worse.

I like quite a few kinds of beer (except the fruity ones), but I think my favorite is the one known as "Free" :cool:
 
Wow this got heated....
I'm with Elky Welky I'm in for free beer. I'm not informed enough to voice an opinion. If AG is voting against WMA'S and is more concerned about the all mighty dollar, then not a fan, not even close, blocking Veteran's from a park...Dude remember the office you hold was made possible by Veteran's and that Flag that flies
The only thing I think we can agree on is that more public land is a good thing, conservation easements are a pain in the hind end. Until Hunters/Huntresses, Outdoorsman and Outdoorswomen, regardless of political viewpoints or party affiliation can put these differences aside and help keep a way of life it that we enjoy it will be lost.
Conservatives, Democrat, Liberal, at the end of the day we all LOVE the same thing. We love the outdoors.

Now who's ready for shots or a beer.
 
I still have faith in my fellow Montanans, for better or worse.
Having voted in Montana all my life and having monitored legislative sessions and the AG office for decades, often submitting my opionion on hunting, wildlife, and public land issues, I currently do not share that faith. Unfortunately, most of our fellow Montanans do not monitor the works of the elected officials and consider the issues or the proposed legislation or other legal decisions affecting hunting, wildlife, or public lands. Sadly, when voting they look only for the D or the R associated with the name. As one of the most informed, experienced, and astute members here, B. Lamb has pointed to some of the benchmark platform ideology and even resultant adversely impacful results of voting in an overwhelming majority of R legislators and other state officials. Until this political seesaw becomes more balanced and rational in nature, we will continually fight a difficult uphill battle in trying to protect and preserve the legacy values of Montana, heretofore The Last Best Place.
 
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Until this political seesaw becomes more balanced and rational in nature, we will continually fight a difficult uphill battle in trying to protect and preserve the legacy values of Montana, heretofore The Last Best Place.
Legitimate question as it pertains to Montana and the country as a whole - does anyone see a realistic path towards a more balanced a rational political dialogue? Cuz I don't really... I think the political gains from divisive rhetoric are just too juicy for anyone with aspirations to abandon; and it seems that the passing of the torch from old blood to young, nationally at least, is only resulting in more hardline ideologues with no interest in middle ground. It seems somewhat clear that the majority of Americans don't like it, but that doesn't seem to be slowing the train at all. It's pretty scary, as someone expecting a little one in February. If the bet was over-under on America as I've known it existing by the time she's old enough to vote, I wouldn't bet my savings on the over. Sorry to get all doom-and-gloom but I would love some optimistic wisdom from those who've seen the pendulum swing a few more times than me.
 
Having voted in Montana all my life and having monitored legislative sessions and the AG office for decades, often submitting my opionion on hunting, wildlife, and public land issues, I currently do not share that faith. Unfortunately, most of our fellow Montanans do not monitor the works of the elected officials and consider the issues or the proposed legisltation or other legal decisions affecting hunting, wildlife, or public lands. Sadly, when voting they look only for the D or the R associated with the name. As one of the most informed, experienced, and astute members here, B. Lamb has pointed to some of the benchmark platform ideology and even resultant adversely impacful results of voting in an overwhelming majority of R legislators and other state officials. Until this political seesaw becomes more balanced and rational in nature, we will continually fight a difficult uphill battle in trying to protect and preserve the legacy values of Montana, heretofore The Last Best Place.
I willfully refuse to be a cynic, because at that point is when all hope is lost. I'm no stranger to Helena (it's my hometown, I too am one of those "4th Generation Montanans") and the nuances of Montana politics.

Saying something is a "sure thing" or that someone will "easily win" reelection gives an excuse for people not to act and try to make a difference. I have great respect for Mr. Lamb, but I'm not one to throw my hands up and presume a foregone conclusion.
 
I willfully refuse to be a cynic, because at that point is when all hope is lost. I'm no stranger to Helena (it's my hometown, I too am one of those "4th Generation Montanans") and the nuances of Montana politics.

Saying something is a "sure thing" or that someone will "easily win" reelection gives an excuse for people not to act and try to make a difference. I have great respect for Mr. Lamb, but I'm not one to throw my hands up and presume a foregone conclusion.
Nor am I and thus advocating for a "more balanced seesaw" ... due to the realism concerning the current political situation.
 
I willfully refuse to be a cynic, because at that point is when all hope is lost. I'm no stranger to Helena (it's my hometown, I too am one of those "4th Generation Montanans") and the nuances of Montana politics.

Saying something is a "sure thing" or that someone will "easily win" reelection gives an excuse for people not to act and try to make a difference. I have great respect for Mr. Lamb, but I'm not one to throw my hands up and presume a foregone conclusion.

Jake,

I appreciate your passion & dedication and am glad you are in the fight. My prognostication isn't borne out of cynicism, just simple vote counting & the fact that Montana Dems don't have much of a bench. That and the fact that it's a presidential year and the MTGOP has proven themselves to have a much stronger ground game than the Dems means while the Legislature will even out a bit due to redistricting, I don't see swinging 60k votes in many statewide elections.

That's the margin to swing. There 100k more votes in 20 for Trump than Biden.
 
Jake,

I appreciate your passion & dedication and am glad you are in the fight. My prognostication isn't borne out of cynicism, just simple vote counting & the fact that Montana Dems don't have much of a bench. That and the fact that it's a presidential year and the MTGOP has proven themselves to have a much stronger ground game than the Dems means while the Legislature will even out a bit due to redistricting, I don't see swinging 60k votes in many statewide elections.

That's the margin to swing. There 100k more votes in 20 for Trump than Biden.
Sorry if you thought I was specifically calling you out as a cynic Ben. I know you are just working the numbers. I don't think your forecast is off at all. I'm more worried about others here being cynical and simply giving up instead of continuing to fight the good fight. Ground can still be gained, particularly when it comes to educating and understanding issues, even if individual battles are lost.

Informed voters may still vote against their self interest if other issues matter more to them, as is their right. But I'm all for having the debate in the open.
 
He’s a born and raised farm/ranch kid from NE Mt.
I know the AG just enough to say hello in the hallway. His family lives in the same community as one of my best friends. My buddy has nothing but good to say about them, and that’s rare in a small community. Most are unable to put petty jealousy aside and say something decent.
The AG is not “anti public land”. I am not anti public land either. I’m going to make an assumption and guess his view on FWP buying land is somewhat similar to mine, “no net gain”.
I'll bite on this one, because I think it is worth thinking critically about. Why would you, as an advocate for private property rights, want to deny a landowner from doing with their property as they wish? As in the case of the owner of Shodair Children's hospital selling their land in the Snowies to the state, which the AG voted against. If a private landowner wants to sell back to the public, is that not their right?

This "no net gain" language rings of something that can't really exist: "status quo." Land ownership is consistently shifting and changing, but why is it your business to keep it in the hands of someone else, and why wouldn't you support acquiring more land for everyone in the state, you included? The "no net gain" theory doesn't really hold any water as being anything other than anti public land.
 
I'll bite on this one, because I think it is worth thinking critically about. Why would you, as an advocate for private property rights, want to deny a landowner from doing with their property as they wish? As in the case of the owner of Shodair Children's hospital selling their land in the Snowies to the state, which the AG voted against. If a private landowner wants to sell back to the public, is that not their right?

This "no net gain" language rings of something that can't really exist: "status quo." Land ownership is consistently shifting and changing, but why is it your business to keep it in the hands of someone else, and why wouldn't you support acquiring more land for everyone in the state, you included? The "no net gain" theory doesn't really hold any water as being anything other than anti public land.
Agree with everything you said except for the last line. He could be anti more public land, of which I also personally disagree with.
 
Agree with everything you said except for the last line. He could be anti more public land, of which I also personally disagree with.
I think that is fair. I don't really see a difference myself, but I do understand the nuance. I suppose it is more that there's a problem with someone saying "I'm against the public gaining any more public land," because that has undertones of "what you have is good enough, and even if someone wants to gift you their property, or sell it to you as is their right, I'd rather it stay with an individual than allow you, my neighbors and community, to have anything more."
 
I think that is fair. I don't really see a difference myself, but I do understand the nuance. I suppose it is more that there's a problem with someone saying "I'm against the public gaining any more public land," because that has undertones of "what you have is good enough, and even if someone wants to gift you their property, or sell it to you as is their right, I'd rather it stay with an individual than allow you, my neighbors and community, to have anything more."
Instead of labeling someone anti this or that, I think it is better to say, I disagree with your position and I am pro more public land. But that would also make politics more dull and boring, so what the hell do I know.😉
 
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