State to UFWS: It's over

The controversy between the US Fish and Wildlife Service the state of South Dakota has hit the boiling point. According to a report at rapidcityjournal.com - it's over:
South Dakota’s long-standing agreement to help federal officers enforce laws protecting migratory birds and other wildlife will end Tuesday because controversial U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent Bob Prieksat has not been fired or reassigned, the chief of staff for Gov. Mike Rounds said Friday.

Rob Skjonsberg said FWS officials failed to meet their obligation to respond within 60 days to his demand that the agency replace Prieksat as the three-state law enforcement supervisor in Pierre. Skjonsberg said he will now make good on his threat to end the agreements that authorize state Game, Fish & Parks Department officers to work with Prieksat and other FWS agents in enforcing federal wildlife laws in South Dakota.

and...

State officers can still enforce a variety of state laws and regulations affecting wildlife. But federal laws will be the federal agents’ job alone, Skjonsberg said.

“We’ll focus on state law enforcement. They can enforce their own laws.”
Read it all here.

That certainly ups the ante between the federal government and the state. It remains to be seen whether the federal government will retaliate in other areas of cooperation such as the BIA, US Marshalls, the FBI, or the corps of engineers.

But would that be assuming a lot, that some of those areas of the federal government might take an interest in how the fish and wildlife cooperation takes place.

Wouldn't it?

Comments

GOP come home said…
So, let's get this straight:

A personnel issue is stopping the state from enforcing a law that apparently was well worth enforcing before the chief of the fws started bugging Round's administration buddies.

I wonder what other federal laws that the Gov felt were worth enforcing but now won't because of a personnel conflict?

I'm all about federalism but this is just being childish. If I were the Bush administration I would say so what?
William said…
Does anyone know if there are links to additional background on this issue? I've read a couple of articles but I don't know enough history behind this to know whether this is politically based or if it's a case of a "bully with a badge".

I know there are some officers that abuse their power but it also sounds like there may have been some "connected" people they've crossed...

It looks like this "can of worms" hasn't been emptied, yet...
nicholas Nemec said…
This whole issue is so stupid. Mike Rounds and the SD state government are throwing a big hissy fit because they haven't been able to bully the Feds into firing a game warden. If Rounds wants this guy fired then he should have the guts to stand up and say so himself rather than having his underlings acting like the heavies. If Rounds doesn't want this guy fired then he needs to tell his underlings to shut the hell up and sit down.

As far as the Feds retaliating, I doubt it. When your kid is pitching a fit you don't make things better by pitching a fit yourself or by caving in to the brat.
Anonymous said…
This is the most childish thing I have seen, Rounds was mad at FEMA this week too, what is his next childish move ( I consider Rob's actions as his) to fight FEMA.
Anonymous said…
OK, let's say Bob P. was seen yelling, swearing and making a 12 year old cry. Let's say he does the same: screaming, cursing and spitting in the face of group after group of out of state hunters, many of whom happen to be law enforcement. Threatening if they fight his charge he'll "bury" them. Let's say that all of the harrassment complaints aren't made up.

Let's say after being informed of the aforementioned the federal system chooses to do nothing. Sees no problem. Protects its own. What then? Ignore it? Condone it?

People outside of Pierre don't know how bad this guy is. How many people he's run out of the state for good. If he was a highway patrolman, city cop, or DCI agent, he'd have been gone a LONG time ago. He's protected by a federal bureacracy. Nothing more.
Anonymous said…
This really is a pathetic way to deal with this on the part of the Gov.

They're acting like teenage girls instead of a state's chief executive and his staff.
Anonymous said…
There are many sportsmen in Pierre, myself included, who have never even had contact with Bob P. The reason is that we have not done anything WRONG. I know that he has watched me on several occasions, but apparently he had no reason to approach our group. I guess everything is relative.
freeman said…
I am concerned that the long term consequences of this silliness can be very severe--is this the kind of thing that the National Science Foundation considers? I am inclined to think that a state's ability and willingness to work with the feds is a factor.
Anonymous said…
One of the reasons alcohol Prohibition was repealed was because the states quit enforcing the federal laws.

I tend to think the complaints against Prieksat are founded. What other way does the state have to get rid of a bad melon?
Anonymous said…
Let's get something else straight here - the STATE has the final authority over this issue. The way the feds have been acting on several fronts is a case of the "tail wagging the dog" and that needs to be changed in South Dakota's favor.

The federal government has no right to ignore the state when challenged on an issue dealing with state sovereignty, which this is. Prieksat is not the only USFW agent available and if the feds didn’t feel that the state has no say in its own internal affairs, they need to be booted out until they can learn to work with us.

I have personally had dealings with Prieksat and have had occasion to hear his profanity laced tirades directed at someone who had broken no laws. Is this the kind of law enforcement we want reflecting South Dakota values? I think not!
Anonymous said…
William, Here's a link for you:
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2007/04/08/news/top/news01.txt
Anonymous said…
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com
/articles/2007/04/08/news/top/news01.txt

This didn't come thru the first time. Hopefully it will now.
VJ said…
Since this involves the Federal Government, has anyone contacted Senator Thune?

As a U.S. Senator, he would surely have the federal contacts to help bring this issue to a compromise.

Has anyone bothered to contact him or is everyone just standing around stomping their feet?
Anonymous said…
Showdown at the ok corral!
Other than rounds and skjonsberg, credible, upstanding citizens have said prieksat has been a badge heavy, profanity laced, cop for years. Tainting the wannabe cops in GFP along the way I'd add.
In one of the articles Skjonsberg said, "maybe a few random complaints can be overlooked, but no one in their right mind can discount hundreds of people saying the same thing." For certain. Maybe Rounds and Skjonsberg don't know first hand details, but many of our neighbors and people that have had face contact with Prieksat do. I choose to put stock in my fellow SDan's and hunting bretheren. I don't have any faith in the USFWS. They all seem to be bad cops. Prieksat is responsible for his own actions and shouldn't be looking for a scapegoat. If John Cooper is the trigger man on this, so what? That ain't no conspiracy. If anyone can be pissed off at SDGFP and the USFWS it should be cooper.

As far as the agreement being dissolved, yes this is very unfortunate. Maybe even dangerous. But, folks, this is 4plus years in the making. Diplomacy didn't work.

A state has the inherent right to refute the federal government's actions within its borders. If it didn't, we may as well turn the damn reigns over to the feds. FEMA and USFWS running SD. Wouldn't that be great?

Even if the USFWS doesn't take action, Prieksat's effectiveness and reputation is severely damaged and he'll go down as the guy not wanted by a governor, senator, and thousands of people. He's washed up and should choose to leave and salvage whatever career he has left.

Until he does, voluntarily or as directed, the slug fest continues and nobody wins. But the state is ascerting its rights on behalf of the majority of its interested citizens and that we should support.
William said…
12:43

Thanks!
Anonymous said…
I agree in the assessment that this is an unprofessional and immature way to handle this situation.

The feds don't get rid of Prieskast, so Rounds and staff pack up their Legos and head home? Are they serious?

In the interest of fairness, all of the people who complained to the Governor's office should have their names released.
freeman said…
Anonymous 4:04 has a valid point. Let's find out if the complaints are valid or, as I suspect, urban legends. We found out last week via a decision from a magistrate with impeccable integrity that at least one of the complaints was B.S.
Anonymous said…
Are you doubters serious? It seems that unless something happens directly to you, it didn't happen. Is everything in this state a conspiracy?

Some people act like this is a hasty reaction to a problem. However, as previously noted, issues related to Prieksat have been surfacing for the last 4 years. After 4 years of "no-response" from the Feds, the state finally did the only thing they could and ended their relations with the problem.
Veritas said…
The state, of its own volition, has agreed in the past to aid the feds in their enforcement of federal law. Whether the governor's complaints are justifiable or not, he is well within his right to ask for Bob's replacement and, when ignored, simply refuse to continue doing the federal government's job of enforcing federal law.

Again, the complaints levelled at Bob may or may not be justified, regardless the state is well within its right to stop cooperating with the feds on the matter.
Anonymous said…
I hope the Governor's idiotic little tirade doesn't harm the National Science Lab and future Ellsworth decisions. This administration just doesn't seem to draw a line in the sand when it is something worth fighting for, but when their favorite democrat, cooper, is rightfully investigated, then outrage and a line in the sand. This is simply stupidity at the finest. Cooper should have been prosecuted. He broke the law. Get over it Rounds!
You got what you wanted--the special treatment of not having your little liberal law breaker getting prosecuted. What else do you want?

This guy couldn't have caused all of GF&P's problems single handedly. Apparently, the administration has conceeded that it is limited to the Pierre area. This is just Rounds reacting to the state employees union people in Pierre who just want to avoid the law after their thirty hour weeks--Rounds' relatives. Nothing more!
Anonymous said…
10:01-

Do you KNOW if a Rounds is even one of those who complained? Attack with facts please.
Anonymous said…
it (whether or not a rounds signed one of the 60 statements or the petitions) should be easy enough to find out. ask.
Anonymous said…
it (whether or not a rounds signed one of the 60 statements or the petitions) should be easy enough to find out. ask.
Anonymous said…
Read the story at the link I posted for William and you'll see that Prieksat's abuse reached far beyond Pierre and the governor's friends or relatives.

Yes, Cooper and Washburn should have been arrested, but that fact doesn't make Prieksat pure as the driven snow.

This man needs to be sent packing. It's just too bad that Rounds didn't give Cooper his walking papers too. Lord knows both Cooper and Prieksat should have been canned a long time ago.

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