Okay, okay, a former Nevada Attorney General.
In addition to the quite scary first amendment abridgement, I might go further. From newspaper accounts, taxpayers are paying more than the cattle are worth in order to round them up, in the name of the desert tortoise. And that’s before the inevitable change orders.
Desert tortoise were plentiful here, before the federal government started protecting ravens in the desert about 50 years ago. About the same time Uncle Sam’s east coast experts started protecting the ravens, I found a tortoise about two blocks from my family’s home (near Oakey and Wilshire) and he became a pet for several months before a rerun of “Born Free” prompted us to put him back onto his side of Oakey.
You can read about Ravens at Wikipedia, but currently somebody has stripped the Raven entry of all information about its protection under the Migratory Bird Act. (Politics! You can still read about Uncle Sam’s Raven protection over there).
Now we have lots of fat ravens, engorged on young desert tortoise and the eggs of ground-nesting animals like the sage chicken are about the easiest to find and eat. Tortoises and wild chickens evolved because there was no massive overpopulation of Ravens.
The federal government’s policies caused many dollars to be spent (back in the real estate gold rush days) mitigating desert tortoise damage in Clark County. Now the federal government appears poised to cause more spending by any human users of rural Nevada lands – recreational, ranching, minerals – to mitigate the sage chicken’s failure to thrive. Groundhog day.
The result, by the way, is that in valleys far, far from the Las Vegas valley, where no development exists, the only thing that has changed in a hundred and fifty years is the federal government started “actively” managing it sixty years ago. Since then, populations of ground-nesting animals in some of those areas have dropped.
It just doesn’t make sense to spend taxpayer money to artificially increase the population of tortoise and wild chickens because we’ve spent a bunch of taxpayer money artificially increasing the population of their main predator. Better to stop artificially empowering the predator.
Unprotect the Raven and you will reduce its ravenous (!), invasive and federal-government-created impact on the natural ecosystem. Especially because we’re borrowing to sustain this current practice.
Once, I was proud of Senator Reid’s apparent environmental sensitivity. But this doesn’t make sense, and our federal government is not sustainable like this.