Washington, DC - Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch introduced legislation today to remove the gray wolf from being listed as a threatened or endangered species in the states of Idaho and Montana. The act is titled the State Wolf Management Act of 2010.
Crapo and Risch argue the U.S. Department of Interior has already communicated to wildlife officials in Idaho and Montana that they have complied with recovery efforts for wolf populations, and those efforts should result in wolf management being turned over to state control as federal agencies planned. A federal judge in Montana ruled against those plans by saying wolves in Wyoming were also covered under the same rules. The Risch-Crapo legislation separates the Idaho and Montana wolves, plus some in adjoining Washington, Oregon and Utah from the Wyoming wolves when it comes to protection under the ESA.
"The State of Idaho, sheep and cattle ranchers, hunters and big game herds deserve certainty when it comes to wolf management," said Crapo. "Considering that the courts have thrown out Idaho’s good faith to address the issue, I see no choice that could work for our state, sheep and cattle ranchers, hunters and big game other than to change the law. This legislation will delist wolves in Idaho and permit the State to manage the species effectively and humanely, as we were doing before Judge Molloy's most recent decision to relist wolves. It’s not some grand attempt to rewrite the Endangered Species Act; rather, it is entirely based on the Fish and Wildlife Service's rule that was used to delist wolves in the first place, and acknowledges that Idaho has done everything right in managing its wolf populations."
“Idaho has met and greatly exceeded every recovery goal imposed on the state by the federal government for the gray wolf and has shown that we Idahoans can properly manage the wolf just like any other species. This legislation removes the technicality Judge Molloy used to re-list the wolves in Idaho and restores wolf management under the already-approved Idaho plan,” said Risch.
The bill directs the Department of Interior to draft regulations to implement the de-listing of wolves within one year. The legislation would also de-list wolves in the adjoining states of Washington, Oregon and Utah.