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With nation focused on pandemic, Trump Interior Dept. to greenlight killing of bear cubs and wolf pups in their dens

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'Cinnamon Black Bear Cub' [Shutterstock]

“Killing has no place in our National Wildlife Refuges.”

President Donald Trump’s National Park Service plans to finalize rules this week that will allow hunters in Alaska to kill bear cubs and wolf pups while they are in their dens, reversing Obama-era regulations meant to prevent destabilization of the state’s biodiversity.

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) accused the administration of taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to push through a rule change against the advice of dozens of natural resource experts and lawmakers.

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“Amid the global pandemic, the Trump administration is declaring open season on bears and wolves through its sport hunting rule on national parklands in Alaska,” said NPCA President Theresa Pierno.

Under the new rules, hunters in Alaska will be permitted to:

  • use bait including donuts and grease-soaked bread to draw in and kill brown bears;
  • use artificial lights to enter dens and kill black bears, including females and their cubs;
  • shoot caribou while they are swimming; and
  • trap and kill wolves and their pups during denning season.

Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, a Republican, claimed Thursday that the new rules are a matter of “principle” and protecting states’ rights. Conservation groups expressed outrage.

“Killing has no place in our National Wildlife Refuges,” tweeted the Wolf Conservation Center.

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Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke drafted the rule before resigning in 2018 in the face of 17 federal ethics investigations, and the proposal promptly drew condemnation.

Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) led more than 70 of her colleagues in demanding the rule be withdrawn.

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“The proposed rule would roll back critical protections for America’s beloved, rare and iconic native carnivores, including brown bears, black bears and wolves on the approximately 20 million acres of national preserves in Alaska—land that belongs to all Americans,” wrote the lawmakers. “The rule would effectively endorse the state of Alaska’s efforts to use extreme practices to reduce bear and wolf populations in order to artificially inflate populations of prey species for sport hunting.”

More than 100 scientists, former National Park Service employees, and academics also denounced the rule, saying “extremely limited scientific evidence” was being used to justify making it easier for hunters to kill bear cubs and wolf pups.

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“Interior Secretary David Bernhardt had the opportunity to halt this rule that includes baiting park bears but chose instead to ignore commonsense and opposition by members of Congress, scientists, and tens of thousands of Americans,” said Pierno. “Shooting hibernating mama and baby bears is not the conservation legacy that our national parks are meant to preserve and no way to treat or manage park wildlife.”


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2020 Election

Trump officials could face criminal charges for USPS sabotage — and the president may not be able to pardon them

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Members of the Trump administration could face legal jeopardy over efforts to sabotage U.S. Postal Service operations to interfere with the 2020 presidential elections.

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Maddow reveals how one state stood up to Trump’s USPS cuts — and won

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow's opening segment on Friday focused on a positive story of political pressure stopping one of the Trump administration's attacks on the U.S. Postal Service.

Maddow reported how NBC Montana reporter Maritsa Georgiou had doggedly reported on the removal of postal boxes in Missoula, where she is based. Missoula has been a long-time Democratic Party stronghold.

Montana has a competitive U.S. Senate election in 2020, with Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock challenging first-term Republican Sen. Steve Daines.

As Georgiou chased the story, she learned there were also plans to remove boxes in the battleground of Billings. And more planned for the blue town of Bozeman. And other towns.

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2020 Election

Pepsi joins the chorus of people dunking on Tucker Carlson over Kamala Harris

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The Pepsi soda company mocked Fox News personality Tucker Carlson on Friday evening.

On Tuesday, Carlson flipped out after a guest attempted to teach him how to pronounce the name of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is running for vice president on Joe Biden's ticket.

Video of the exchange was posted on Twitter by Nikki McCann Ramirez, a researcher at the watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Tucker Carlson loses it when a guest corrects his pronunciation of Kamala Harris's name pic.twitter.com/1fHIrPGuwN

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