The story ‘Koch Bros caught funding Bundy land seizure movement’ broke on February 12th, and the assertions are chilling. Is this the hidden piece of the puzzle? Is this why efforts are consistently blocked when trying to stop the brutal slaughter of our wolves, bison, wild horses and other imperiled species and places? The attempt to seize public lands and block designation of wilderness areas, refuges and National Monuments is bad enough, but could they also be covertly blocking endangered species designations or enforcement? Could they in fact be instrumental in facilitating the removal of America’s native wildlife from public lands, in favor of mining, drilling, logging, hunting and ranching interests?
That would mean that the Koch Brothers are implicated, albeit indirectly, in fueling the slaughter of some of America’s most visible, beloved and beleaguered species. It seems possible now. If, as implied, the Koch brothers actually funded the Bundy standoff, where an ecologically-sensitive migratory bird sanctuary was not only held hostage, but vandalized, there is nothing they won’t stoop to.
The opening paragraph of the report might send chills through you. “
Conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch signaled last week that they would be expanding their financial and organizational support for a coalition of anti-government activists and militants. It’s been been disclosed that they are supporting right wing activists who are working to seize and sell America’s national forests, monuments, and other public lands.”
Ah, now things are starting to make sense No matter how many signatures, letters and phone calls are submitted by citizens, unpopular environmental, wildlife and land-use legislation gets railroaded through anyway. No wonder iconic and nationally-cherished wolves can’t catch a break, no matter how much scientific and peer-reviewed evidence is submitted on their behalf. No wonder America’s iconic bison, in the world’s most important, continually free-roaming, migratory and genetically-imperiled Yellowstone herd, are still being routinely rounded up and slaughtered while the state caters to the cattle industry. No wonder that, despite the Wild, Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, the nation’s beloved and iconic wild horses are still cruelly rounded up and sold to kill buyers, who will ship them across the border to meet horrifying deaths in Mexican slaughterhouses. Against that kind of money, our voices, our rights, our country and our innocent wildlife don’t stand a chance.
The post goes on to say, “The disclosure was made through emails sent by the American Lands Council and Koch-backed group Federalism in Action to their members.” First posted by Think Progress, on February 11th by by Jenny Rowland and Matt Lee-Ashley, the report makes some unnerving revelations about how these very rich and very powerful brothers are controlling America with significant behind-the-scenes string-pulling. While the Bundy takeover might be over, the Koch’s agenda, in a series of cloaked maneuvers, is not. They operate through various sleight-of-hand channels such as the Free the Lands project and Federalism in Action. “Though ClimateProgress has previously uncovered and reported on the dark money that the Kochs have provided for political efforts to seize and sell public lands, recent organizational changes reveal that the Koch network is providing direct support to the ringleader of the land grab movement, Utah state representative Ken Ivory, and has forged an alliance with groups and individuals who have militia ties and share extreme anti-government ideologies.” As if that’s not enough, “Federalism in Action is also a member of the State Policy Network, which is the Koch-funded network of more than 50 right-wing think tanks in states across the country.”
Thankfully, Montana Governor Steve Bullock stepped up to stop a bill that would have been devastating for America’s public lands. As the ThinkProgress post explains, “Also supporting the Free the Lands Project: the American Lands Council Foundation, the tax-exempt non-profit arm of the American Lands Council. Upon announcing the departure of Ken Ivory from ALC’s presidency, the group named Montana State Senator Jennifer Fielder as its CEO. Fielder is Montana’s leading figure in the land seizure movement and has proposed legislation that would require the federal government to cede ownership of all national forests and public lands in Montana to the state. The bill was unpopular and and swiftly vetoed by Montana Governor Steve Bullock.”
So we now know that the conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch not only intentionally choose people of questionable intelligence and moral fiber (the Bundys) to be sacrificial lambs in their plans to covertly take control of America, they’re actively planning to seize huge chunks of United States real estate for their own ends, despite the fact that the majority of Americans love and support our National Parks, Monuments and other public lands. This is scary stuff and should be a real wake-up call to wildlife, wilderness and environmental advocates that we’re up against much more than just entrenched ranching or hunting interests; we’re directly up against some of the richest and most powerful individuals in the United States.
The next question is, now that we know, what are we going to do about it?