Washington, DC – The Idaho Congressional Delegation today praised the actions of the U.S. Department of the Interior to delist the recovered gray wolf in the Northern Rocky Mountains. The decision came after Congressman Mike Simpson, Chairman of the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee, inserted language in the recent continuing resolution to return the gray wolf to state management.
“Common sense has finally prevailed when it comes to managing wolves in Idaho,” said Senator Jim Risch. “This species is fully recovered and now state wildlife experts can manage gray wolves just like other predator species found throughout the state. It is unfortunate that it was such an arduous task to get this issue resolved.”
“I commend the Department of the Interior and Fish and Wildlife Service for promptly complying with the wolf delisting provision that was included in the recently-passed Continuing Resolution for the remainder of this fiscal year,” said Senator Mike Crapo. “As I have said on many occasions, the wolf is recovered in the northern Rockies and the State of Idaho has proven that it can and will effectively and responsibly manage wolves. Now that the federal government has taken this step, the State of Idaho can finally get to work.”
“No one can rationally argue that the Rocky Mountain gray wolf is still endangered. Wolf populations in the west are robust and far exceed recovery goals,” said Simpson. “If the Endangered Species Act is going to be effective at all, we need to remove recovered species from the list and consider it a victory. In this case, instead of recognizing that wolves have made a strong recovery, advocates have been intent on listing them in perpetuity, preventing wildlife managers from making good management decisions and undercutting the intent of the ESA. Today we’re finally moving past this controversy, putting wolf management back into the hands of the state, where it belongs.”
“The original purpose of the ESA has been perverted to do the bidding of activist environmentalists. This is the first step to ensuring these groups no longer misuse the ESA to permanently protect a species regardless of its recovery,” said Congressman Raúl Labrador. “The recovery of the gray wolf took place several years ago and since that recovery many Idahoan ranches and outfitting businesses have suffered through the killing of livestock and prime hunting herds by these apex predators. We must remain vigilant in the future to other overbearing federal restrictions on state sovereignty. This is a great example of a crisis that could have and should have been handled by the state itself and not the federal government.”
Simpson’s language in H.R. 1473 overturned the August 2010 decision by a district court in Montana to put wolves in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Utah back on the endangered species list, in spite of the fact that these populations have met and exceeded recovery goals. The language directed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reissue its 2009 decision to delist wolves in Idaho and Montana within 60 days of enactment. Today’s action by the Fish and Wildlife Service complies with the law, republishing the final rule and allowing for state management, including managed hunts, in Idaho and Montana this year. This rule is effective immediately upon publication. Gray wolves will remain protected in Wyoming, but Simpson’s language protected the ability of the state of Wyoming to negotiate its own state management plan, which, once approved, would allow the Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the entire Northern Rocky Mountain population.