For Release: Wednesday, June 16, 2021
MISSOULA, MONTANA—On Friday ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, the Bitterroot Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) held its spring meeting over Zoom. By law, that meeting must be open to the public and media. Yet after a half-hour into the morning’s agenda, the screen went dark, locking the public out of most of the day’s discussion.
In response, 25 organizations and scientists sent a letter today to IGBC Chairwoman Jacque Buchanan protesting the Bitterroot Subcommittee’s move. Louisa Willcox, grizzly bear expert and co-founder of Grizzly Times, along with Adam Rissien, ReWilding Advocate of WildEarth Guardians also issued this statement:
“Grizzlies are of enormous public interest and, until now, bear managers have ensured that everyone has access to its regular meetings. Blocking people from government deliberations breeds mistrust, undermines the public interest, and violates long-standing policies. The letter sent today demands that the IGBC issue an apology, a formal reiteration of its open meeting policy, as well as release all recordings, handouts, and notes on the blacked-out portion of the meeting. Such actions are necessary to restore transparency and public trust.”
A copy of the letter is available here: https://pdf.wildearthguardians.org/support_docs/Buchanan-IGBC-Letter.pdf