U.S. Congress Removes Wolves from Endangered Species List -- A Legislative First

Endangered Wolf
Image via Flickr/geishaboy500

Congress, for the first time ever, has removed an animal from the Endangered Species List. Unfortunately, for the northern Rocky Mountain grey wolf, it was caught in the crossfire (soon to be literally!) of last Friday's Federal Budget compromise and is no longer considered endangered. "The Environmental Protection Agency was cut by $1.6 billion, a 16-percent reduction, and lawmakers from Western states were able to include a rider allowing states to de-list wolves from the endangered species list," explains Brian Merchant, about Friday's decision. The rider puts the management of grey wolves in the hands of both Montana and Idaho. Though, just last week a, federal judge bucked this idea because he felt it would actually increase commercial wolf hunts within those states.

Whats' really obscene to me is that Congress has actually set this precedent. Okay, it's not really the first time. Congress did inadvertently delist an endangered Tennessee fish called the snail darter by approving a dam originally slated to protect the fish. But the difference being that Congress was not overturning scientific findings, it was a legislative loophole.

While Obama and Reid stood firm against attacks on the Clean Air Act, they clearly caved to pressure from special interest groups on this matter. However, I am not really surprised that Obama fell short here as he did back the Bush administration's attempt at delisting the animal before. However, the HuffPo points out that wildlife advocates could very well pressure Obama and Reid with an ad campaign, much like the Palin-centric one above.

The ad worked in spades -- according to independent research by the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, it was one of the most effective spots of the entire 2008 election cycle. According to Glenn Kesller of HCD Research, which conducted the study: The ad which focuses on Governor Palin's record regarding the treatment of wildlife in Alaska seemed to strike a chord with voters. The recent ads from both parties have had little impact among voters. This is the first ad in over a month that seems to have broken through. (source)

All may not be lost for the grey wolf just yet. Conservation groups, hunters and Defenders of Wildlife just stopped a piece of Montana Legislature that would have expanded wolf-killing on private property. The proposed Montana Wolf Control Act (SB 414) made it legal for anyone to shoot a wolf at any time, for any reason, on private land.

You can tell Congress to remove the outrageous wolf-delisting rider from the 2011 budget here. Regardless, it seems like it is a good day to be an elk in Montana.

Source: Yale Environment 360

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More on Wolves
Save the Wolves--Because Obama Isn't Going To
First Wolves, Now Polar Bears: Obama Issues Strike Two for Endangered Species?
1/4 of Rocky Gray Wolves Killed in First Hunting Season in Decades

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