Denny Rehberg: Return wolf management authority to the states
January 28, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC – Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg, Jan. 26 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 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.”
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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.