Published on April 11th, 2011 | by Jeremy Bloom7
Budget deal kills gray wolves AND the endangered species act
Item #1: Gray wolves are being stripped of their status as an endangered species across most of the northern Rockies.
I’ll bet you didn’t think they could do that, did you? Just stick a line in a budget bill and overrule science, the courts, and the entire process? In fact, it’s never been done before. Welcome to the brave new world of anti-science.
“This stealth attack on wolves — which circumvents the will of the courts and good science — was inserted by Representative Mike Simpson (R, ID) and Senator Jon Tester (D, MT),” says Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It was approved by the leadership of both the House and the Senate, and it was okayed by the White House.
“It is a shameful day for this nation when both parties unite behind the slaughter of an endangered species — without public hearing or debate.”
Death to the wolves
As a climax predator, gray wolves are crucial to a healthy ecosystem in the West; but they also have been known to kill livestock, so many ranchers and farmers just see them as a nuisance – so much so that wolves had been wiped out for all practical purposes.
It’s taken years of hard work and millions of dollars spent to restore a relative handful of gray wolves. But under pressure from the ranching industry (which didn’t want to settle for a program to compensate owners when wolves killed livestock), a number of states have sought permission to solve the problem the old fashioned way – by shooting the wolves.
It’s been litigated in the courts, lobbied in Congress and fought over in the White House. But up till Friday, the line had held firm. Gray wolves were an endangered species and sound science that took into account the needs of everyone in the West said they couldn’t be slaughtered.
Now, with a stroke of a pen, that protection has been swept away.
-> Next page: Death to the Endangered Species Act?