House Republicans Move against Wolves

Friday, February 25, 2011
Buried inside a U.S. House budget bill to keep the federal government operating past March is a controversial provision that would remove the endangered species classification for wolves in the Rocky Mountains.
Pushed by Republicans, the plan would allow the wolf population to be reduced to only 300 in the Northern Rockies, an area covering Idaho, Montana and parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah. Currently, about 1,700 wolves roam the region, meaning the legislation would allow for the slaughter of 82% of the animals.
Andrew Wetzler at the Natural Resources Defense Council insists 300 wolves is not a sufficient number for the long-term survival of the species, which nearly went extinct in the 20th century.
Twice before, lawmakers tried to end the wolves’ endangered species designation, only to have a federal judge intervene. The new attempt includes language designed to prevent the courts from getting in the way, by stating the rule “shall not be subject to judicial review.”
Wolves would still be protected in Wyoming, the southwestern desert and the upper Great Lakes.
Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), chair of the appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Interior Department, speaking on behalf of ranchers, justified the renewed killing of wolves. “Not only do wolf populations far exceed recovery goals, but without proper management those populations have grown to the point where they are adversely impacting other wildlife populations in the region and wreaking havoc for ranchers, hunters, and public land users in Idaho,” he said in a statement.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Republican Budget to Wolves: Drop Dead (by Andrew Wetzler, Switchboard-Natural Resources Defense Council)
GOP Budget Bill Lifts Wolf Protections (by Matthew Brown, Associated Press)


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