Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Another month, another wolf bill

Congressman endorses more legislation

Express Staff Writer

One more wolf management bill was thrown into the congressional ring last week when eight Republican lawmakers proposed legislation that would remove the gray wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The bill was introduced on Thursday, Dec. 2, by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and other Western congressmen.

Titled the State Sovereignty Wildlife Management Act, the legislation follows the theme of preceding legislation, creating an exception to the Endangered Species Act for gray wolves.

"It is frustrating to me that some people persist in acting as though the end goal in this process is to simply keep wolves on the endangered species list," Simpson stated in a press release. "Idaho's state management plan has proven effective, and we need to act now to restore the states' authority to manage these animals."

Previous bills have languished in committee since a rash of legislation was introduced following U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy's decision on Aug. 5 that wolves can only be delisted on a regional basis.

The ruling effectively relisted wolves under the act in Idaho and Montana, as Wyoming's wolf management plan—which allows wolves to be shot on sight in most of the state—has not received federal approval. According to Molly's decision, all wolves in the northern Rocky Mountain region must be delisted together.

The most recent bill goes further than earlier ones in that it seeks to remove all wolves from federal protection, rather than just wolves in the northern Rockies.

Simpson as well as Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, both R-Idaho, have each supported several wolf management bills, endorsing solutions that range from giving only Idaho and Montana power over their wolf populations to removing wolves entirely from the Endangered Species Act.

Simpson spokeswoman Nikki Watts said the congressman has endorsed multiple bills because he's dedicated to finding a solution.

"Congressman Simpson is just looking for a way to solve the problem," Watts said.

Katherine Wutz:

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