2012 Approps Deal Keeps Wolves Safe and Judicial Review Intact!

Gray Wolf.jpg

As the House and Senate appropriators reached a $1 trillion federal spending agreement for 2012 last Thursday, we were thrilled to hear that the bill would NOT harm wolves!

As I wrote early last week, we had heard that a provision that could result in the deaths of many wolves and strip citizens of their right to judicial review of agency decisions was one of the last remaining items of contention in negotiations over the FY12 spending bill.  Specifically, the rider, which Rep. Lummis (R-WY) tacked on to the House version of the Interior appropriations bill last summer, would have shielded the final delisting rules for gray wolves in Wyoming, the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment, and, potentially, 29 Eastern states, from judicial review.

According to Rep. Lummis, the exclusion of this provision “was a huge defeat for common sense.”

Funny . . . it makes perfect sense to me.

First, appropriations bills are supposed to be about funding—not wolves. They’re intended to keep things we use every day, like public hospitals and highways, running. Holding up these critical services by attempting to insert a policy provision into a funding bill is simply not good government.

And then there’s that whole separation of powers thing.  You know, the Constitution.  That document says that the three branches—executive, legislative, and judicial—are supposed to oversee and balance out each other’s actions so that no single body possesses too much authority.  This rider would have said “to hell” with all of that by completely removing courts from the equation when it comes to wolves in certain states.  There would be NO checks on actions the executive branch takes regarding wolves, which runs contrary to the Tea Party’s pledge to fight for a more accountable government.

Last, but certainly not least, the rider could have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of wolves—a species that our nation completely obliterated and then spent years recovering. Talk about defeating common sense!

                                    Photo courtesy of Fish and Wildlife Service