HOWL Colorado

Montana governor authorizes wolf killing, but federal law still outlaws it

[large thumbnail url=”montana-governor-authorizes-wolf-killing-but-federal-law-still-outlaws-it” filename=”news” year=”2011″ month=”02″ day=”18″] [thumbnail icon url=”montana-governor-authorizes-wolf-killing-but-federal-law-still-outlaws-it” filename=”news” year=”2011″ month=”02″ day=”18″] Montana governor Brian Schweitzer appears not to care for federal law, and has no faith that a scientifically-driven, or even legislatively-driven solution is forthcoming.

Even when a governor says it’s okay, it isn’t.

Wolves are protected under federal law, and Schweitzer’s defiant decision to order Wildlife officials not to investigate poaching, and authorize the killing of entire packs for hunting elk will do nothing but hurt the state’s goal of regaining the ability to manage their own wolf population under their established and accepted wolf management plan.

Indeed, the next few weeks in Montana could simply justify the need to keep wolves on the endangered species list and derail currently proposed legislation which would remove the animals from the protections of the Endangered Species Act.

The decision displays something quite clearly however, Mr Schweitzer simply doesn’t believe that the political attempts to go around the Endangered Species Act will succeed.

Science, and not politics, should be the sole determining factor as to whether the wolves are ready to be removed from the Endangered Species list. The introduction of politics has led to all the games involved, and ultimately to this point, where a governor has ordered the residents of his state to ignore federal law. While Montana state employees may follow the directions provided by their governor, it will be interesting to see how federal officers respond.

Here is the letter in it’s entirety, followed by a link to the web site on which it was posted.

The Honorable Ken Salazar
Secretary
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20240

Dear Secretary Salazar:

I write to you today regarding wolf management in Montana.

While almost everyone acknowledges that the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf population is fully recovered, as the Governor of Montana I am profoundly frustrated by the lack of any actual results that recognize Montana’s rights and responsibilities to manage its wildlife. Montana has for years done everything that has been asked: adopting a model wolf management plan; enacting enabling legislation; and adopting the necessary implementing rules. Our exemplary efforts have been ignored. I cannot continue to ignore the crying need for workable wolf management while Montana waits, and waits, and waits. Therefore, I am now going to take additional necessary steps to protect the interests of Montana’s livestock producers and hunters to the extent that I can within my authorities as governor.

First, for Montana’s northwest endangered wolves (north of Interstate 90), any livestock producers who kill or harass a wolf attacking their livestock will not be prosecuted by Montana game wardens. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) wardens will be directed to exercise their prosecutorial discretion by not investigating or citing anyone protecting their livestock.

Further, I am directing FWP to respond to any livestock depredation by removing whole packs that kill livestock, wherever this may occur.

Still further, to protect the elk herds in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley that have been most adversely affected by wolf predation, I am directing FWP, to the extent allowed by the Endangered Species Act, to cull these wolves by whole-pack removal to enable elk herds to recover.

At this point, I can do nothing less and still maintain my commitment as Governor to uphold the rights of our citizens to protect their property and to continue to enjoy Montana’s cherished wildlife heritage and traditions.

Sincerely,

Brian Schweitzer – GOVERNOR

Can you say “playground politics”?

I hope Salazar does the right thing and puts this all back in the hands of the Government agencies which do rely on science and give them the authority needed to protect both the wolves, and the interests of the states. Time to remove the politics, gentlemen. It is clear you cannot play well with others.

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