Bad Day for Wolves: Federal Budget Opens the Door to Dangerous Precedent

Livingston, MT (April 10, 2011) — The budget deal announced Friday night includes a policy rider that would strip endangered species protections from gray wolves in the Northern Rockies. The addendum was inserted by Montana Senator Jon Tester in an effort to remove wolves from the Endangered Species list in Montana and Idaho. This would be the first time that an act of Congress removed federal protections for an endangered animal.

Following are statements from Andrew Wetzler, Director of NRDC’s Wildlife Conservation Program:

“This is a huge setback for one of America’s greatest conservation success stories and a significant blow to the Endangered Species Act. Leaders from both parties are completely undercutting the basic principle of American wildlife conservation: that science should dictate which plants and animals will be protected, not the whims of politicians. Congressional leaders rightly recognized that the riders undercutting health and environmental protections in the House of Representatives were inappropriate for a budget bill. This anti-conservation rider is no different. If Congressional leaders and the Obama administration want to attack the Endangered Species Act, they should do it as a standalone bill, rather than sneaking it through the back door in the dead of night.”