WASHINGTON, D.C. – Idaho Congressmen Mike Simpson and Raúl Labrador joined Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg by introducing a comprehensive legislative solution to the ongoing wolf controversy aimed at returning wolf management authority to the states once and for all.
H.R. 510, Idaho and Montana Wolf Management Act of 2011, responds to frustration throughout Idaho and Montana after a U.S. district judge in Montana overturned the Fish and Wildlife Service decision, which was supported by both the Obama Administration and the Bush Administration, to remove gray wolves from the endangered species list in Idaho and Montana. As a result, Idaho and Montana cannot manage wolves under the management plan approved by the Fish and Wildlife Service.
In recent months, both Simpson and Rehberg have solicited comments from Idahoans and Montanans to get their ideas on how to solve this problem. Many of these comments have been incorporated into H.R. 510.
“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 this bill, and I look forward to working with Congressmen Rehberg and Labrador to move forward on this issue by seeing the Idaho and Montana Wolf Management Act signed into law.”
“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.”
“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.”
Simpson is the Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment, which oversees funding for the Fish and Wildlife Service.