Bill Could Lead to Wolf Hunting Seasons

From Montana Representative Denny Rehberg’s website:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana’s Congressman,
Denny Rehberg, on Jan. 26, 2011, introduced a comprehensive legislative solution to
the ongoing wolf controversy aimed at returning wolf management
authority to the states once and for all.  Rehberg introduced two pieces
of legislation – both are the direct result of broad public input he
received from Montanans on the wolf controversy.

“The gray wolf
isn’t endangered, which is why Republicans and Democrats alike are
joining forces to end the misuse of the Endangered Species Act to
advance extremist policy agendas,” said Rehberg, a rancher from
Billings.  “I heard from thousands of Montanans, and folks get it.  They
know that states are better at managing our own local wildlife than the
federal government thousands of miles away.  Unless there’s a darn good
reason – and there’s not – the federal government has no business
getting involved.  Years of research, dedicated efforts by land owners
and local officials, and the expert opinions of on-the-ground wildlife
managers have been given a back seat to profit-motivated environmental
groups.  We need to end this abuse and solve an issue that should have
been put to rest years ago.”

Rehberg’s legislation responds to
frustration throughout Montana and around the country after a U.S.
District Court Judge in Missoula effectively returned gray wolves to the
Endangered Species List.  The fact that wolf populations have far
surpassed even the revised recovery goals established by the Endangered
Species Act (30 breeding pairs and 300 wolves for eight consecutive
years) hasn’t stopped a few well-funded special interest groups from
using dirty tricks to keep the gray wolf listed as endangered.

The first bill Rehberg introduced today incorporates input from
thousands of public comments he solicited from Montanans online and at
three widely attended public Wolf Impact Hearings in Western Montana
last year.  The legislation addresses the unique needs of the people he
heard from in Montana and Idaho.  The legislation is cosponsored by
Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Raul Labrador (R-ID).

“Increasing numbers of wolves in Idaho show that protection under the
endangered species act is no longer needed,” said Labrador.  “The
endangered species act is a tool to recover a species, not a program for
infinite and never-ending federal oversight.  The wolves are thriving,
the science is definitive and the time has come to delist the gray wolf
permanently.”

“As we look for a viable long-term solution to
this issue that returns the authority to manage wolves within their
borders to the states, I depend on the input and advice of the Idahoans
who are most impacted by the court’s decision to relist wolves,” said
Simpson.  “This input is reflected in these bills, and I look forward to
working with Congressmen Rehberg and Labrador to move forward on this
issue by seeing this bill signed into law.”

The second bill
responds to the desire he heard to expand the effort beyond just Montana
and Idaho.  The national solution was introduced by Congressman Rehberg
with bipartisan support from the following cosponsors: Jim Matheson
(D-UT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Mike Ross (D-AR), Rob Bishop (R-UT),
Leonard Boswell (D-IA), Dan Boren (D-OK), Paul Broun (R-GA), Dennis
Cardoza (D-CA), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), John Kline
(R-MN), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Greg Walden (R-OR)
and Don Young (R-AK).  The one-page bill says that the Endangered
Species Act shall not apply to gray wolves – across the board.

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