Idaho Lawmakers Pass Bill to Kill Hundreds of Wolves

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Center For Biological Diversity
For Immediate Release, March 20, 2014

Idaho Lawmakers Pass Bill to Kill Hundreds of Wolves

$400,000 to Be Spent Wiping Out 500 Wolves, Setting Up Wolf-killing Board

BOISE, Idaho— The Idaho Legislature today passed House Bill 470, a bill to create a new lethal “Wolf Depredation Control Board” to administer a fund for widespread killing of wolves in the state. The bill, expected to be signed into law by Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, sets aside $400,000 in state funds to kill roughly 500 wolves, leaving just 150 in the entire state.

The new board will consist of members appointed and overseen by Otter, who said in 2007 that he wanted to be the first to kill an Idaho wolf after federal protections were taken away. The board will be made up of representatives of the agricultural, livestock and hunting communities. The bill does not require any members of the board to represent the wolf conservation community.

“Political leaders in Idaho would love nothing more than to eradicate Idaho’s wolves and return to a century-old mindset where big predators are viewed as evil and expendable,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The new state wolf board, sadly, reflects that attitude. The legislature couldn’t even bring itself to put a single conservationist on the board, so the outcome is predictable: Many more wolves will die.”

Congress in 2011 stripped Endangered Species Act protection from wolves in Idaho and Montana. Since then, 1,592 wolves have been killed in those states.

The bill is the latest in a series of anti-wolf actions in Idaho that could ultimately backfire and force the return Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains. Other commitments made by Idaho, including promises to maintain refugia for wolves in remote areas and wilderness, have been rolled back. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game sent a hunter-trapper into the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness this winter to eliminate two wolf packs. It recently announced a new predator-management plan designed to kill 60 percent of the wolf population in the Middle Fork area over the next several years, and contracted with USDA’s Wildlife Services to gun down 23 wolves in the Lolo management zone in February.

“Yet again, Idaho has put a black eye on decades of tireless work to return wolves to the American landscape,” said Weiss. “This bill sets aside $400,000 in state funds to wipe out as many wolves as legally possible in Idaho. Reducing these wolf populations to below even the absolute bare minimum sets a dangerous precedent and ensures that true wolf recovery will be little more than a pipe dream in Idaho.”

In combination with mortality from annual hunting and trapping seasons, the wolf population in Idaho is under serious threat of dropping near — or even below — minimal recovery levels that Idaho promised to maintain when wolves in the northern Rockies lost federal protections in 2011. The sponsor of H.B. 470, Rep. Marc Gibbs (R-Dist. 32), says the intent of the bill is to reduce Idaho’s wolf population to as few as 10 packs.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required by its own delisting criteria to review the population if changes in Idaho law or management objectives significantly increase the threat to the population. It must then decide whether to reinstate federal Endangered Species Act protections or extend the post-delisting period for federal oversight.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 675,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/wolf-03-20-2014.html

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Photo: Dead Wolf Flickr Commons

Posted in Wolf Wars, Idaho Wolves

Tags: wolf extermination, Idaho’s brutal tactics, wolf killing board, $400,000 dedicated to killing wolves in Idaho, Governor Butch Otter, stop the wolf killing,  Idaho House Bill 470, stop the madness

Action Alert: Boise Wolf Supporters, Hearing Today on Wolf Control Board Bill…..

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IMPORTANT ALERT FOR BOISE AREA WOLF SUPPORTERS

 Today, Friday – March 14, 2014

A hearing is scheduled for today on H470, the Wolf Control Board bill. There will be an opportunity for public comment. Please come and show your opposition to the bill!

IDAHO SENATE RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE

Idaho Capitol Building in Boise, Idaho
1:30 P.M. … Room WW55
Friday, March 14, 2014

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Bell: Wolf Fund Won’t Receive $2 Million

BOISE • A bill asking for $2 million to kill up to 500 of Idaho’s wolves won’t get even half of its requested appropriation, said co-chair of the state’s budget committee.

Instead, an unexpected bailout to make up for missing federal e-rate funds to pay for the Idaho Education Network (IEN) broadband program has taken precedence, said state Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, co-chair of the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee.

“We have some flexibility when it comes to killing wolves,” Bell said. “We don’t have flexibility with IEN.”

JFAC has already approved $6.6 million out of this year’s budget to make up for past-due payments to Education Networks of America, the state’s contractor on the broadband project. It’s money the federal government was supposed to pay for the state’s school broadband program but never did.

The supplemental appropriations bill passed both houses and now just needs the signature of the governor.

“Frankly, based on our discussions with legal counsel, we are obligated for this piece,” said state Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, while debating the bill on the Senate floor. “I need to inform you that this is the first half. The second half we are still arguing and discussing and re-discussing what we do for fiscal year 2015.”

Ever since the news was announced earlier this session, multiple lawmakers expressed their frustration with the state’s Department of Administration for extending the contract with the Education Networks of America through 2019 without informing lawmakers that the broadband vendor was not receiving the federal e-rate payments.

JFAC is expected to discuss the future of IEN next week, which includes a $7.3 million request from Otter and the Department of Administration to cover the federal payments for fiscal year 2015, Bell said.

This means that the wolf bill will also be discussed next week, Bell said, but it won’t get the requested $2 million.

“It will probably get less than $1 million or closer to the $400,000 that was requested last year,” she said.

Bell was referring to a recommendation a committee submitted to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter last summer on how to fund ongoing wolf control efforts. The recommendation asked for $400,000 annually for five years to kill wolves that preyed on livestock.

Instead, Otter ignored the recommendation and requested $2 million of one-time funding to kill wolves during his State of the State speech in January.

READ MORE: http://magicvalley.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/bell-wolf-fund-won-t-receive-million/article_3c9a845e-216c-58fe-935d-a3dbfc9000ca.html

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Photo: gray-wolf-tumblr-the-champion.jpg

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho wolves

Tags: Idaho wolf wars, wolf persecution, Governor Butch Otter, Wolf Control Board bill, public comment

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