Casperson says eight more recent wolf attacks on domestic animals proves need for scientific wolf management

For Immediate Release
Oct. 22, 2013

Contact: Marty Fittante
517-373-7840

LANSING, Mich.— Recently another eight cases of wolves attacking domestic animals, including livestock and pets, have been documented by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), leading State Sen. Tom Casperson to repeat his call for the scientific management of wolves pursuant to Public Act 21 of 2013.

“The recent wolf attacks, which have occurred every few days, underscore the need for scientific wolf management in the Upper Peninsula,” said Casperson, R-Escanaba. “It is difficult to argue that fact with these incidents happening regularly across the U.P.”

The most recent attacks this month, which are on the heels of a deadly September as well, have happened as follows:
• October 10 – 1 steer killed at an Engadine area farm
• October 12 – 2 dogs killed and 2 injured in Schoolcraft County
• October 13 – 1 steer killed at an Engadine area farm
• October 16 – 1 dog killed and 1 injured in Chippewa County
• October 16 – 1 pig killed at an Engadine area farm

Recent coverage of the wolf management regulations approved by the Natural Resources Commission shows that the Michigan public supports the management efforts, especially when told about attacks by wolves on domestic animals and impacts on those who live in rural areas.

A recent poll conducted by the Marketing Resource Group and Mitchell Research and Communication showed that 67 percent of Michigan residents support the current plan for a wolf hunt in targeted areas of the Upper Peninsula. In addition, recent news coverage has indicated that three quarters of the recently sold wolf hunting licenses were sold to residents of the Lower Peninsula. 

“With the deadly impact that wolves are having across the U.P., it is no wonder that Michigan residents overwhelmingly support a limited wolf hunt,” Casperson said. “Groups including the U.S. Humane Society, who continue their efforts to implement its no-hunt agenda and stop a much-needed, recently approved and limited wolf hunting season in certain parts of the U.P., should reevaluate their opposition and join in the efforts to help control the wolves that are killing our domestic animals and livestock and impacting our way of life in the U.P.”

 

Casperson testifies asking for changes to the Endangered Species Act

For Immediate Release
Oct. 15, 2013

Contact: Marty Fittante
517-373-7840

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Tom Casperson testified Thursday in Washington, D.C. in front of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Congressional Working Group forum, led by Representatives Doc Hastings (WA-04) and Cynthia Lummis (WY-at large).

The forum,  titled “Reviewing 40 Years of the Endangered Species Act and Seeking Improvement for People and Species,” featured 17 panelists representing diverse groups and interests from across the country who discussed ways in which the Endangered Species Act could be altered to better serve state issues and needs. 

“Michigan residents and our natural resources, especially in the Upper Peninsula, have been significantly and adversely impacted by unreasonable restrictions that are found in or caused by the Endangered Species Act,” said Casperson, R-Escanaba. “While the law serves a worthwhile intent, it has been used for decades by those looking to limit use of the natural resources and land-based industries, which impacts local communities and impairs economic growth, especially in the U.P.”

Casperson specifically highlighted a few examples in which the Upper Peninsula has been unfavorably affected by the ESA.  Damage and losses caused by species including wolves and cormorants have been exacerbated by protections through the ESA and other regulations. In addition, management of national forests has been limited with harvests at less than 50 percent of allowable sales quantities for many years, creating an artificial restraint on timber availability and damaging the forest products industry throughout the state in the process. 

The recent attempts by the Marquette Road Commission to build County Road 595 were thwarted by federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service, who cited environmental concerns ranging from threatened and endangered species that “could” be present to wetlands regulations. Astoundingly, the agencies still raised concerns when the county offered to mitigate 22 acres of wetlands with 1,600 acres of wetlands.

After providing the examples, Casperson spoke of the need to allow more management on the local or state level, the need for balance within the law, and the need to address the ESA from being abused as a tool by those with an environmental agenda by habitually filing lawsuits to stop balanced and healthy management.

“I am extremely pleased that Senator Casperson was able to provide a voice for the State of Michigan on the Endangered Species Act Working Group forum here in Washington, D.C.,” said Congressman Bill Huizenga, who invited Casperson to testify because of his expertise and statewide leadership on the issue.  “Due to the abundance of natural resources in Michigan, from the shorelines of our Great Lakes, to our many farms and forests, the ESA broadly impacts our state.  I believe that we need to empower states, local governments, and private landowners to conserve species and avoid federal listings. Many of the decisions made in Michigan have proven that species protection and human activity can be compatible.”

The public is encouraged to submit written comments, ideas and recommendations to the Endangered Species Act Working Group at: esaworkinggroup.hastings.house.gov/esa/contact.htm and visit esaworkinggroup.hastings.house.gov to watch the archived video webcast from Thursday’s listening forum.

Booher, Casperson introduce public safety bills

LANSING— Sens. Darwin Booher and Tom Casperson on Wednesday introduced public safety legislation that would allow Concealed Pistol License (CPL) holders to carry a non-lethal Taser into a no-carry zone, such as a school or day care center.

“Allowing Tasers in no-carry zones will provide a non-lethal method to protect oneself in areas where there is presently no other way to effectively defend oneself and our children,” said Booher, R-Evart. “This is about allowing people to use new technologies to keep our children and the public safe.” 

Booher sponsored this legislation after reading a letter to the editor from a constituent who recommended allowing Tasers in schools in the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. 

“Constituents often see sensible solutions to profound problems if we take the time to listen,” Booher said. “Not only is this a practical solution, but a very necessary solution in light of the horrific acts that continue to take place. As the headlines remind us far too often, we cannot sit idly by or rely on the recommendations of some workgroup. This measure offers a real opportunity for defense when currently no other means are available.”

Senate Bills 572 and 573 would allow a device that uses electro-muscular disruption technology, such as a Taser, to be carried in the no-carry zones outlined in state law. The bills build upon Public Acts 122-124 of 2012, which permit CPL holders to possess an electro-muscular disruption device, such as a Taser, for self-defense purposes, and also require authorized dealers to provide training to CPL holders on the use and risks of Tasers.

“Tasers can only be used for self-defense, and under this reform, they could only be carried into a no-carry zone by someone licensed to carry a concealed pistol,” said Casperson, R-Escanaba. “Individuals with CPL permits have proven that they respect the law and the responsibility that comes with the permission to carry weapons. They will have undergone training for concealed pistols as well as extra training on the use, effects and risks of using a Taser. The sincere gravity with which CPL holders have treated this responsibility is shown by the compliance rate since Michigan expanded the right to carry a concealed weapon to law-abiding citizens 12 years ago. Consequently, expansion of that right in this way is warranted, necessary and sensible.”

The lawmakers noted that individuals using a Taser for anything other than self-defense are subject to prosecution under Michigan law, including a four-year felony offense.

The bills have been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.

###