The meaning of words in legislation and slogans-July/Aug 2018
Will Endangered Species Act reform be coming to a country near you? Many of us in Wyoming have struggled with the impacts of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The current process of delisting a species which has exceeded its recovery goal, only to have it litigated and relisted has frustrated folks directly impacted by the species. As we witness this process, we at the same timesee states like Wyoming spending millions of dollars managing the grizzly bears alone.
When Farm Bureau members met in Cody a few years ago, a representative from the Governor’s office spoke to attendees about a Western Governor’s initiative under Governor Mead to work towards a bi-partisan ESA reform package that would be acted on by Congress. This process has taken several years, but Senator Barrasso as chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced “The Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018,” which seeks to incorporate many of the concepts developed by the Western Governor’s Initiative. The primary focus of the changes seeks to incorporate states into the process. In Wyoming’s case, this could have beneficial impacts which would help manage the species while allowing the state directly affected to have some say in how these species are treated. It also incorporates a lot more state input into the listing decisions and provides the state a bigger role in that process.
One of the other aspects which could have a significant impact in the future would be the requirement that affected states participate in settlement discussions and agreements. We’ve seen how the Fish and Wildlife Service in the past has been all too willing to settle on issues that have big impacts on states. Perhaps this will help states affected by the settlements to either obtain a better settlement or work to defend an action by the Fish and Wildlife Service to not list a species.
On another topic, many of you have heard about the brouhaha generated when a slogan from a Boulder marketing firm was revealed to University of Wyoming instructors. The slogan “The World Needs More Cowboys” apparently is offensive to a number of the UW faculty who feel that “cowboys” is causing grave concerns for them. One instructor suggests that UW should “shelve” it in favor of a more diverse tag line, while another suggests that it is no longer acceptable to use the generic masculine and pretend that includes the feminine.
These folks are taking offense at the Hollywood portrait of cowboys. Having grown up watching John Wayne, Roy Rogers and Clint Eastwood westerns, I can’t say I was convinced that was the way cowboys acted. I certainly never let Hollywood convince me that every cowboy I met was going to be like John Wayne, Roy Rogers or Clint Eastwood. Some of the cowboys I knew were certainly good folks, but some were not. Like any population we have good folks and not so good folks. But those same individuals were out working in the cold or the heat trying to take care of the cattle when most people would have packed it in and gone home. They were trying to do the right thing.
The image for doing things the “cowboy way” or “cowboying up” or even “cowboy ethics” is an image of doing the right thing. Now I recognize that for some “cowboy” can illicit the image of a man, so I’d offer to the marketing firm they simply add “or Cowgirl” to their slogan and let it go.
While I’ve watched the “Cowboys” play basketball and football, I’ve never been offended by that term when it was used to describe those sports teams. In a world where everyone seeks to be offended, it appears we have our share right here at the University. The part that bothers me more than anything is the age-old complaint where people come to Wyoming from somewhere else because they “love it” and then immediately want to change everything about it.
By Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President