Photo credit: Sierra Club
After last week's budget fight, wolves were used as trading chips and ended up being thrown under the bus.
Language included in the budget bill that passed yesterday will remove wolves in the Northern Rockies from the Endangered Species List. It marks the first time that Congress has ever taken decisions about which animals deserve protections out of the hands of scientists - a dangerous precedent.READ MORE: U.S. Congress Removes Wolves from Endangered Species List -- A Legislative First
For the wolves being delisted, that precedent-setting action undermines the very basis of the Endangered Species Act and the sound, science-based management practices that have brought so many iconic animals back from the edge of extinction.
That language, crafted by Senator Jon Tester and Representative Mike Simpson reverses a court victory from August 2010 and removes wolves in the Northern Rockies from the Endangered Species List in every state except Wyoming.
This is the first time that Congress has ever made a species-specific decision under the Endangered Species Act. This precedent-setting action will be the worst blow that the Act has ever seen in its nearly four-decade history.
Wolves have brought millions of tourist dollars to rural regions as people come to experience these extraordinary animals. They are a keystone species that allow many other plants and animals - from beaver and trout, to willows and migratory birds to thrive. The loss of wolves would upset the natural balance to the detriment of future generations.
The Endangered Species Act is regarded as one of the strongest conservation laws the world has ever seen, and it has had an astounding effect bringing species back from the edge of extinction and preserving biodiversity in this country. Its power lies in sound, science-based management, free from political interference.
Read more about the wold delisting:
U.S. Congress Removes Wolves from Endangered Species List -- A Legislative First
Putting the Endangered Species Act Into Practice, One Wolf Listing at a Time
New Federal Budget Cuts EPA 16%, Removes Wolves from Endangered Species List