Congress Slips Anti-Wolf Rule into Budget Bill…First-Ever Intervention with Endangered Species
Thursday, April 14, 2011
In the 38-year history of the Endangered Species Act, Congress had never intervened in the law and dictated whether an animal or plant should be protected. But that streak is now over, with the inclusion of language in the budget compromise bill that removes the endangered species designation of wolves in Montana, Idaho and parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah.
Once the provision becomes law, the fate of the wolves will be in the hands of state officials who have adopted management plans that include hunting of the animal. About 1,700 wolves roam the region.
Conservationists said the action sets a dangerous precedent that puts politics above scientific evidence when it comes to protecting threatened species. “Now, anytime anybody has an issue with an endangered species, they are going to run to Congress and try to get the same treatment the anti-wolf people have gotten,” Michael Leahy, the Rocky Mountain region director for the group Defenders of Wildlife, told The New York Times.
Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) and Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) were responsible for placing the wolf delisting provision in the budget bill. Republicans, acting on behalf of ranchers, have made it clear they wanted the wolf taken off the endangered species list. Tester was motivated to act because he is facing a tough re-election against a GOP opponent opposed to wolf recovery, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
Congress, in a First, Removes an Animal From the Endangered Species List (by Felicity Barringer and John M. Broder, New York Times)
Tester, Simpson Sneak Wolf-killing Rider into Budget Bill (Center for Biological Diversity)
House Republicans Move against Wolves (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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