LIVINGSTON, MT (October 1, 2010) – No fewer than four bills to remove federal Endangered Species Act protections from grey wolves have been proposed in Washington, DC. The proposed laws come one month after a federal court decision returned the species to the list. NRDC legal experts see the headlong rush to address the issue of wolf conflicts in the Northern Rockies in this manner as a serious threat to the Endangered Species Act, which could have long-standing unintended negative impacts on the effort to preserve America’s wildlife.
Following is a statement from Andrew Wetzler, Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Wildlife Conservation Programregarding Senate bills 3864, 3919, and 3825, and House bill 6028:
“Congress shouldn’t be picking winners and losers under the Endangered Species Act. Saving endangered species needs to be based on the best science, not political judgments. This is just an ugly end-run around the judicial process.
”Having Congress arbitrarily choosing which animals get protection under the Endangered Species Act, sets a terrible precedent for wildlife management in the future. We are extremely close to a fully recovered wolf population in the Northern Rockies---all these proposals will do is make that goal harder, prolong the fightingand unnecessarily inflame an already overly-charged issue.
“There are positive solutions to the wolf conflicts in the Northern Rockies. NRDC supported the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, which was co-authored by Senator Tester. The bill created a million-dollar program compensating ranchers for livestock killed by wolves and stood as a good way to address the issue of wildlife conflicts while a larger national solution could be developed. If they are serious about a DC solution, they should be pushing the Fish & Wildlife Service to issue a legally and scientifically defensible national recovery plan.”
Wetzler recently blogged on the wolf bills at http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/awetzler/new_wolf_bills_bad_science_bad.html