Victory! Wolf Delisting Rider Fails To Make It Into Massive Budget Bill!

Black wolf pack running

December 17, 2015

Wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes are safe for now. The sneaky procedure of slipping wolf delisting riders into budget bills didn’t work this time for the congressional wolf haters and their ranching and hunting backers. The behemoth budget bill was supposed to be a vehicle to go around the courts and delist wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming via delisting rider. Supposedly it was not included due to a warning from the White House the bill would be vetoed if there were any changes to the Endangered Species Act. This is shocking since it was the Obama administration who delisted wolves in Montana and Idaho in 2009. He also supported the wolf delisting rider in 2011, that was slipped into an appropriations bill, which delisted wolves in Montana, Idaho and parts of Oregon, Utah and Washington state, without judicial review. Obama is  also challenging Judge Berman’s December 2014 relisting of wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming.  So it was big surprise the wolf rider was not included in the budget bill but it was certainly a welcome change.

This battle is far from over but at least this year there will be no wolf hunts in Wyoming or the Great Lakes. I wish I could say the same about the beleaguered wolves of Montana and Idaho.

Here’s the evil wolf delisting rider that was stripped out of the funding bill.

“Requiring the Secretary of the Interior to reissue final rules to delist wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes region that were overturned by a federal court and exempting those reissued rules from judicial review.”

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Wyoming wolf provision left out of massive congressional budget bill

Associated Press

Updated 19 hrs ago

 U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, Reid Ribble, R-Wisconsin, and some other lawmakers had hoped to attach a rider to return management of wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming to the states, which could have opened the door to a resumption of wolf hunting in those places. The provision would have undone federal court decisions that restored the animals’ protected status in the four states despite repeated efforts by the federal government to remove them from the list.

Peterson said budget negotiators dropped the provision from the final bill, which was unveiled late Tuesday, because the White House had threatened a veto if the bill contained any changes to the Endangered Species Act.

“Obviously I’m disappointed,” Peterson said. “We thought it wasn’t going to be a problem because the Fish and Wildlife Service was supporting it.”

Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, said supporters will have to regroup and decide on their next step. He said a stand-alone bill probably could pass the House but he’s not sure about the Senate. It’s also possible an appeals court could overturn the lower court decisions, he added.

While livestock interests supported removing federal protections for wolves, wildlife groups lobbied against it.

“It certainly was a pleasant surprise,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Backers of the rider were trying to use a tactic that succeeded in 2011 when Congress removed wolves in Idaho, Montana and sections of Utah, Washington and Oregon from the list.

 “Cooler heads prevailed in Congress,” said Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. He said a letter written by Sens. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, and Barbara Boxer, D-California, and signed by 23 other senators including Gary Peters, D-Michigan, helped make the difference.

The combined wolf population in the western Great Lakes region is estimated at 3,700, including about 2,200 in Minnesota, while Wyoming has around 333.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled last December that the western Great Lakes states didn’t have suitable plans to safeguard wolves, and that the animals haven’t come close to repopulating their former range. Her decision prevented Minnesota and Wisconsin from holding sport wolf hunting and trapping seasons this fall. Michigan hasn’t held a hunt since 2013. Another federal judge issued a similar decision in September 2014 in a Wyoming case.

The Obama administration, Michigan, Wisconsin and Wyoming are appealing the two decisions. Minnesota is not formally a party to the Midwest case, but the state attorney general’s office filed an amicus brief Tuesday supporting a reversal.

The brief says Minnesota’s wolf management plan will ensure the animals continue to thrive in the state. It says Minnesota’s wolf population and range have expanded to the point of saturating the habitat in the state since the animals went on the endangered list in 1973, creating “human-wolf conflict that is unique in its cost and prevalence.”

A similar appeal is pending in the Wyoming case. Pacelle said his group, which filed the lawsuit in the Midwest case, will keep up the fight.

“This is not the end of the process, but it’s a good outcome because Congress is showing restraint and not trying to cherry-pick a species and remove it from the list of endangered animals,” Pacelle said.

http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/wyoming/wyoming-wolf-provision-left-out-of-massive-congressional-budget-bill/article_77ac09ef-d3a9-5bee-8e43-30cc471ac854.html

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Photo: Courtesy wolf wallpaper

Posted in: gray wolf, Endangered Species Act, biodiversity

Tags: No delisting rider, wolves safe in Wyoming and Great Lakes for now, ESA, budget bill, gray wolf, Great Lakes, Wyoming

Wolf Delisting Lawsuit Briefs, Alliance For the Wild Rockies

Here are the briefs submitted to the court by Alliance for the Wild Rockies, in support of their lawsuit, challenging the wolf delisting rider.  If successful,  it would find the rider, that was attached to a must pass budget bill, unconstitutional, which I believe it to be.

What the Senate did was egregious. They allowed gray wolves to be thrown under the bus by voting for the budget  bill,  hoping to please Senator Jon Tester, who is running a tight race against Denny Rehberg, for his Senate seat in 2012. In essence Rehberg and Tester are trying to out-wolf each other and capture the  anti-wolf vote. They’re both running on the issue.

The Senate could easily have stripped the rider out of the budget bill or allowed an up or down vote on the rider, as  they did for the other two riders included in the budget bill,  Planned Parenthood and Obamacare.  Senators voted up or down on both those riders and both were defeated but they left the wolf delisting rider in place, which allowed them to vote on the budget bill with the rider still attached.

I think it was sneaky and underhanded.  In my opinion, the Senators didn’t want to “go on the record” and vote for the wolf delisting rider outright, so they tucked it away in the budget bill.  The ESA was used and abused for political gain. For the first time, a species like the wolf, who has a long history of persecution and ultimately extermination in the West, was stripped of their ESA protections. If any species deserves ESA protection, it’s the gray wolf.

  Only three Democrats voted against the budget bill: e.g., Leahy , Levin and Wyden. Bernie Sanders, (I-VT) voted against it as well. President Obama then signed the bill into law with the rider attached and lo and behold, wolves were stripped of their ESA protections by budget rider.  That’s the whole sad, disgusting story.  The day the Democrats sold out wolves for Jon Tester’s Senate seat. I think he’ll be defeated because he is never going to out-do Rehberg on wolves. The entire exercise of delisting wolves was for nothing.

•Brief, May 31, 2011

http://www.wildrockiesalliance.org/news/2011/0531wolfBRF.pdf

•Statement of Undisputed Facts, May 31, 2011

http://www.wildrockiesalliance.org/news/2011/0531wolfSUF.pdf

•Reply June 21, 2011

http://www.wildrockiesalliance.org/news/2011/0621wolfREP.pdf

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Links to the briefs can also be found on Alliance for the Wild Rockies website.

Please visit AWR and give generously in support of this very important wolf litigation.

Just to remind everyone what this lawsuit it all about I included an opinion piece, which appeared in the Christian Science Monitor in April 2011, which succinctly details the delisting of the Northern Rockies gray wolf via budget rider. It explains why this action by Congress was so egregious and wrong.

The Senate’s reckless disregard for the ESA and the political delisting of wolves,  prompted the mounting of a legal challenge by Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater and WildEarth Guardians, to seek to right the wrong done to wolves by the 112th Congress and the President.

Opinion Christian Science Monitor

True cost of budget deal will be paid in blood – of gray wolves

One of the most unfortunate riders of the recent budget deal is the decision to strip the gray wolf of the protections of the Endangered Species Act. Science has been subordinated to political instrumentalism, setting a dangerous precedent for the future.

By David N. Cassuto / April 19, 2011

Williamstown, Mass.

Many words have been spent on the budget compromise struck between Republicans and Democrats in the 11th hour a couple weeks ago, narrowly avoiding a government shutdown. In the days since, details of this budget agreement have slowly emerged, but few actually know what it fully entails – and what it really means for Americans. Perhaps this is because Congress and the president appear to have had a similarly limited understanding of the nature and scope of the cuts they agreed upon.

Nevertheless, President Obama and members of Congress did know that they agreed on a few things having nothing whatsoever to do with the budget, budget cuts, or with federal spending at all. One of the most unfortunate of these “budget” agreement riders is the decision to strip the gray wolf of the protections of the Endangered Species Act. In the 37-year history of the Act, no species has ever been delisted for purely political reasons. Prior to last week, science guided such decisions. Now, science will be subordinated to political instrumentalism, setting a dangerous precedent for the future.

Read More: http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2011/0419/True-cost-of-budget-deal-will-be-paid-in-blood-of-gray-wolves

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Photo: All About Wolves

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: Wolf delisting lawsuit, Judge Molloy, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater, WildEarth Guardians, Jon Tester, Denny Rehberg, gray wolves, ESA, budget bill

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