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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Endangered Gray Wolves Fall Prey to Budget Deal

Congress and the White House averted a government shutdown Friday night, but the casualties in the deal are endangered gray wolves. A provision snuck into the budget compromise and supported by lawmakers of both political parties will strip wolves in the Northern Rockies of their federal protections for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011, clearing the way for Montana and Idaho to open sport hunting and trapping seasons on these creatures. It’s the first time a species has been “de-listed” by legislative fiat, and it sets a terrible precedent for the gutting of environmental laws—allowing any group of lawmakers from any state who don’t like a particular species to simply strike them off the list.

Wolves Proponents of wolf killing have failed numerous times to demonstrate in court that wolves have recovered and that the states had sound wildlife management plans to keep from pushing them back to the precipice of extinction. So rather than basing the decision on sound science, it’s now been based on politics. Republicans and Democrats from western states have been party to this end-run around scientific wildlife management decisions and the Endangered Species Act, and have crammed this political power grab into a must-pass budget bill. This article by Phil Taylor of Greenwire explains the situation further.

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