April 14, 2011
RMEF Lauds ‘First Step’ as Congress Partially Delists Wolves
MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation was among the first to call on Congress to step in and fix the gray wolf debacle, and today’s Congressional delisting of wolves in a portion of the West is a step in the right direction, officials say.
“This is a win for science over emotion. It’s a win for facts over hysteria. Congress has reaffirmed that state wildlife biologists—not lawyers, judges or animal rights activists—are the best authority in conservation and wildlife management today,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.
He added, “We’re grateful that Congress has begun the process of rescuing science-based wildlife management from the frivolous lawsuits that have kept America’s proven system of conservation bogged down for years in court proceedings and bureaucracy.”
“We thank Senators Tester and Baucus, Congressman Rehberg and Governor Schweitzer of Montana for their willingness to take on this fight. We also thank Congressman Simpson and Senators Risch and Crapo and Governor Otter of Idaho. Additionally, I want to thank Senator Hatch from Utah and Senators Barrasso and Enzi and Congresswoman Lummis of Wyoming for their efforts as well. All of these lawmakers went way out on a limb to debate and fight and establish this first-ever type of legislation. Sportsmen and ranchers everywhere need to thank them for their help,” said Allen.
RMEF has been urging Congress to help end a decade-long struggle to grant states the authority to manage recovered wolf populations. But while Idaho and Montana are now authorized, other states remain vulnerable to continued federal litigation and stall tactics by extremist groups. Several Western and Great Lakes states have long-recovered wolf populations that should be delisted and turned over to the states for management.
Allen said, “RMEF will continue to call for delisting gray wolves wherever populations are recovered. We hope today’s legislation sets a precedent for other states like Wyoming and the Great Lakes states, among others, to get gray wolves delisted and under the management authority of their state wildlife agencies.”
He added, “We’ll have to wait and see, but we’re hopeful that Congress has sent a clear message that the public is tired of courtroom conservation and environmental groups playing games with the Endangered Species Act. If those folks don’t stop manipulating the ESA beyond its original goal, they will destroy its usefulness and purpose.”