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Senators Seek Action on Wolf Legislation

Note Substantial Increase in Wolf Numbers in Unanimous Consent Request

December 21, 2010

Washington, DC - Noting substantial increases in wolf populations as states comply with federal recovery efforts, Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch worked today to pass legislation in the U.S. Senate that would remove wolves from endangered species protection. The Idaho senators joined colleagues from Wyoming and Utah to offer the legislation for unanimous consent of the Senate; an objection by one Senator, Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland), ended consideration of the bill, likely for the rest of this session.

Crapo and Risch joined Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Bob Bennett (R-Utah), John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) in asking the Senate approve S. 3919, which would delist the grey wolf nationally. During speeches on the Senate floor, Crapo and Risch noted actions by the State of Idaho have sustained numbers that are far beyond what is required for recovery under the Endangered Species Act.

“Unfortunately, and despite their recovery, we have not been able to return management of wolves to the states, due to litigation and the inflexibility of the Endangered Species Act,” Crapo said. “In the meantime, large increases in wolf populations are resulting in substantial harm to our big game herds and domestic livestock. Whenever I am home in Idaho, I hear from hunters who are angry that their favorite hunting spots are no longer rich with elk and deer, or from sheep and cattle ranchers who have lost many cattle or sheep due to wolf predation. The State of Idaho has done everything it has been asked to do in order to manage wolves, and we continue to be denied that much-needed opportunity. As such, it is time for Congress to act.”

“Wolves are successfully recovered in Idaho and it has been proven the state can manage the species,” Risch said. “In fact, a federal judge even noted that we have done so, but the law prevents it from happening. It is past time to turn the management of wolves over to the state, which has well over 100 years of success in managing other predator species such as bears and cats.”

Crapo and Risch noted the longer federal officials wait to resolve the situation, the more difficult it will become to convince states and citizens to work with the federal government on the recovery of threatened and endangered species.

“Cooperation is a key component of having an Endangered Species Act that actually works,” Crapo said.

“Idahoans are getting fed up with the broken promises of the federal government on endangered species,” Risch said. “The federal government, environmental groups and courts need to live up to their end of the deal.”