Another Victim of This Budget Nonsense: Wolves Another Victim of This Budget Nonsense: Wolves
Social Innovation

Another Victim of This Budget Nonsense: Wolves

by Ben Jervey

April 15, 2011

Congress has never once determined whether a species should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. In the past that's been left up to, you know, experts. But that's just changed. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID) slipped a rider into this must-pass budget deal that effectively strips wolves of their protection under the ESA in Montana, Idaho, and parts of Washington, Oregon, and Utah.

In other words, Congress has, yet again, decided to insert its own legislative authority over that of the scientists (who Congress has entrusted to make these decisions), and over that of the courts.

As Andrew Wetzler writes on NRDC's Switchboard:

That, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with this process...We ought to leave the the Endangered Species Act up to the scientists, who carry it out, and to the judiciary, who interpret its meaning.


So why do Tester and Simpson want wolves off the list? So they can kill them. In large numbers. The states' officials want wolves off the endangered species list so they can cull the populations through state-run wildlife "management" plans. These plans call for killing hundreds—possibly thousands—of wolves that are deemed to be a threat to ranchers' herds and the deer and elk that hunters love to shoot. In other words, it's the ranching and hunting lobbies that are making this happen.

Oh, and what do wolves have to do with the budget? Absolutely nothing, of course.

Photo (cc) by Caninest on Flickr

Ben Jervey More Info

Ben is a writer and editor covering climate change, energy, and environment, and is currently the Climate and Energy Media Fellow at Vermont Law School. He was the original Environment Editor at GOOD Magazine and his work has appeared regularly in National Geographic News, Grist, DeSmogBlog, and OnEarth. He recently worked with the non-profit Focus the Nation to publish an Energy 101 primer. When living in New York City, he wrote a book, The Big Green Apple, on how to live a lower impact life in the city. A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.
Some recent articles by Ben Jervey:
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Another Victim of This Budget Nonsense: Wolves