HOWL Colorado

Salazar meets with northern Rockies Govs on wolf management

[large thumbnail url=”salazar-meets-with-northern-rockies-govs-on-wolf-management” filename=”news” year=”2010″ month=”12″ day=”01″] [thumbnail icon url=”salazar-meets-with-northern-rockies-govs-on-wolf-management” filename=”news” year=”2010″ month=”12″ day=”01″] Idaho, Montana and Wyoming’s governors and governor-elects all met up with Secretary of the Interior, and rancher, Ken Salazar to discuss the wolf management “issue.”

If the post-meeting rhetoric and statements are anything to go on, the most obvious problem wasn’t solved – though it seems clear that it was identified.

That problem is Wyoming.

While Tom Strickland (assistant interior secretary for fish, wildlife and parks) said

“We made good progress today with Wyoming, and we’re already there with Idaho and Montana.”

the sort of language we wolf advocates were optimistic to hear,  it was immediately countered with typical Wyoming boneheaded stubbornness and political manuevering by Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal, who stated that Wyoming (and the other states) hadn’t committed to anything, and they would not change its fundamental principle that it needs to be able to manage wolves as it sees fit outside the “recovery area.” 

Governor Freudenthal did reassert that Wyoming was open to talk about changing their tactics, but based on those caveats, talking is about as far as they appear to be willing to go.

I suspect they will hang their hopes on Congress removing ESA protections from the Northern Rocky wolves and then they can declare open season on most of their wolves without fear of repurcussions. Much easier than simply adopting a management plan similar to Montana, or Idaho, or Washington, or Colorado, or Oregon, or Minnisota, or Michigan, …

Salazar’s office released the following statement after the meeting:

“The successful recovery of the gray wolf is a stunning example of how the Endangered Species Act can work to keep imperiled animals from sliding into extinction. Today’s meeting was very constructive and I appreciate that the governors share our goal to delist the species with a responsible approach guided by science.”

Here are the primary options:

Pushing bills through Congress
an approach easily guided by special interests as I can be pretty sure most of those voting on the bills will care more about money in their pockets, or votes from their constituents than they do about reading 20 years worth of scientific research explaining how wolves got where they are now and why Wyoming’s plan is just insane. 

Indeed, HOWLColorado contacted every candidate before the elections to get their position on the then recently introduced wolf bills, and even the Defenders-praised Michael Bennet never provided a response.  

Fight the decisions in court
Clearly a path destined to continue in perpetuity

Wyoming adopt a plan that is guided by science
When even the USFWS looks at a plan and considers it to be insufficient, you know it’s bad.

The correct, and only, path which can lead to a scientifically-guided approach is for Wyoming to adopt a plan which will work.

If the Washington Post article is accurate, however:

If Interior officials can’t reach an agreement with Wyoming, Schweitzer said Salazar had pledged to back Idaho and Montana in their efforts before Congress.

So the question is, just how hard and for how long the Department of the Interior will try and get Wyoming to change their plan. If they are serious and will put real pressure on the state, this could move the whole situation in a reasonable direction. However, some may feel that this is just a backroom promise from Salazar to help push through a congressional solution since there is no real incentive for Wyoming to play along.

Governors meet with Salazar on wolf management

Governors, Salazar eye wolf resolution

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