During House Natural Resources Committee hearings this week, Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke questioned Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze on the issue of Bison. Specifically, Zinke asked if the same limitations on grazing would apply to bison as they do to cattle ranchers, and whether or not brucellosis had been a consideration.

“Congressman I appreciate the question and you’re educating me on this so I am going to have to get some more materials together and I would be happy to come visit with you about this,” said Kornze. “I look at fairness,” said Zinke. “I have nothing against buffalo provided that they’re brucellosis free, that provided the grazing rules are the same, provided that we look and respect our environment, but we need to make sure the rules are the same.”

Zinke further questioned Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on the same issue. Like Kornze, Jewell had few answers.

“I know there is a national bison plan I am not specifically familiar with how bison graze arrange versus cattle graze arrange all that would be taken into account if we were taking federal action to impact that, but we’re happy to get back to you for the record with more information on that,” said Jewell.

After the back-and-forth, Zinke slammed the “bureaucrats” at BLM and the Department of the Interior for “knowing nothing” about Bison. In a strongly worded press release Zinke said “to not even put in the time in to learn about the issue is a slap in the face to Montana. Heads will roll. This is not acceptable.”