Today, the U.S. Senate released a Continuing Resolution to fund federal government operations for the remainder of the fiscal year that calls for delisting of wolves in Montana and Idaho. The bill directs the Secretary of the Interior to reissue a wolf delisting rule first issued in 2009 that removed Endangered Species Act protection from wolves in Idaho, Montana, eastern Oregon, eastern Washington, and northern Utah. The rule retained federal protections for wolves in Wyoming, which has thus far refused to produce a wolf management plan that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deems adequate. A federal court in Montana struck down the 2009 delisting rule, finding that it violated the Endangered Species Act. The wolf delisting language in the budget bill states that, once reinstated, the delisting rule will not be subject to judicial review.
Idaho and Montana are eager to commence wolf hunting, which will be permitted if the Senate’s budget bill passes.
The following is a statement from Earthjustice attorney Jenny Harbine:
“Congress adopted the Endangered Species Act to protect species from social intolerance and shifting political winds. This bill reverses nearly four decades of Congressional wisdom by subjecting wolves to these very threats. What species will be targeted next?
“Wolves are an indispensible part of the northern Rockies landscape. Congressional delisting will allow the northern Rockies wolf population to be hunted down to unsustainable levels.”