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Salazar Shocker: Wolves Back in Gunsights

Interior Sec. Ken Salazar stunned the environmental world this morning by agreeing to remove northern gray wolves from protections of the Endangered Species Act. By doing so, Salazar has endorsed one of the more infamous actions taken by Bush on his way out of office.

Or, as Earthjustice Attorney Jenny Harbine put it: "The federal government is handing Idaho and Montana a loaded gun. The Fish and Wildlife Service says states may kill all but 300 of the current northern Rockies population of around 1,500 wolves. The population cannot stand this level of mortality."

The Fish and Wildlife Service first announced the delisting in January, just before Bush left office, but Obama froze that decision along with others in order to review it.

The de-listing process will probably take effect next month, allowing hunters to target the wolves in Idaho and Montana during the fall. Today’s announcement also affects wolves living in parts of Utah, Washington and Oregon, and in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.. Wyoming wolves will remain protected by the ESA.