Western Watersheds' collateral damage


You presented Laird Lucas as a dedicated and talented environmental lawyer fighting big corporations and corrupt government (HCN, 10/31/11, "The people v. the agency"). That makes his close association with Western Watersheds Project (WWP) puzzling. For 10 years, I have volunteered to represent environmental ethics on a cooperative management team for a family-owned and -operated ranch. The team, on which WWP declined to participate, includes representatives from a number of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, the public and the ranch family. Members have worked together to improve the ecological health of the public and private lands used by the ranch, to protect wildlife -- especially sage grouse -- and to maintain the ranch's economic viability. WWP has consistently belittled, misrepresented and blocked this effort. Meanwhile, WWP has made pronouncements and lodged administrative appeals -- and earmarked pay-off money from El Paso Corporation -- to further its agenda of removing cattle and families from Western lands. Environmentally responsible ranchers and government employees, taxpayer money, civility and consensus building are collateral damage of that agenda.

Hugh Feiss
Jerome, Idaho

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