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HomeGovernmentON Congress opposes proposed federal rule change increasing number of eagle kills

ON Congress opposes proposed federal rule change increasing number of eagle kills

Citing the sacred status eagles hold in the Osage culture, the Fifth Osage Nation Congress unanimously passed a resolution opposing a proposed federal regulation to increase the number of eagles that may be killed without penalty.

The resolution (ONCR 16-31 sponsored by Congressman Otto Hamilton) passed on July 20 during the second Special Session. Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear signed the resolution the next day.

According to ONCR 16-31: “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed revisions to the regulations governing the issuance of eagle take permits, which would allow the number of eagles to be injured and/ or killed to be increased from a maximum of 1,103 for up to five years to 4,200 per year, a nearly fourfold increase.”

The public comment period on this proposed regulation change ended at the beginning of July, but the Osage Nation Energy Services, LLC, board also submitted comments in opposition before the comment deadline, said Congresswoman Maria Whitehorn.

Congresswoman Alice Buffalohead said the resolution “sends a stronger message that two bodies of the (ON) government agree on this.”

According to the Federal Register, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed the changes on May 6, which then triggered a two-month public comment period on the proposed changes.

The Federal Register on the proposed revisions states: “(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) estimate(s) there are about 143,000 bald eagles in the United States (including Alaska), and that populations continue to increase. Given their continued population growth above the 2009 baseline, there is considerable capacity to sustain the take of bald eagles. Under our proposed management approach, the annual take limit would be 4,200 bald eagles nationwide. This compares to a take limit of 1,103 established in 2009.” 

Standing Bear said the resolution is a Congressional voice of formal opposition to the federal rule change proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to increase the number of eagles, which may be injured or killed without penalty under the Eagle Take Permit program.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (enacted in 1940, and amended several times since then) prohibits anyone, without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Interior, from “taking” bald eagles, including their parts, nests, or eggs. The Act provides criminal penalties for persons who “take, possess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, at any time or any manner, any bald eagle … [or any golden eagle], alive or dead, or any part, nest, or egg thereof.” The Act defines “take” as “pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest or disturb.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service website states: “A violation of the (Bald and Golden Eagle Protection) Act can result in a fine of $100,000 ($200,000 for organizations), imprisonment for one year, or both, for a first offense. Penalties increase substantially for additional offenses, and a second violation of this Act is a felony.”


By

Benny Polacca


Original Publish Date: 2016-08-01 00:00:00

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Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org
Benny Polacca started at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter and has covered various stories and events impacting the Osage Nation and Osage people. Polacca is part of the News team awarded the Native American Journalist Association’s Elias Boudinot Free Press Award in 2014 and other NAJA Media Awards and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter awards for news coverage and photography. Polacca is an Arizona State University graduate and participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. He previously worked at The Forum newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. region as the weeknight reporter.
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