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In what looks to be another administration blunder, Ken Salazar (Interior Secretary and the guy who has failed to reform the most corrupt department in the U.S.) is gearing up to side with right wing extremists in congress to pass legislation that will rip wolves off the endangered species list. This action has the very real effect of allowing special interests to ram bills through congress in order to remove species that "get in the way" of corporate interests such as ranching, logging, mining and oil extraction. We could soon be seeing polar bear legislation or grizzly bear legislation, effectively destroying the Endangered Species Act.

Why isn't he spending his time reforming the Minerals Management Service rather than placating a non-issue?

Obama admin backs anti-ESA legislation

Understand that there is no science behind the claims of ranchers in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The wolf has simply become a symbol for unhappy,  rural westerners to vent on. We've seen this all before with a different cast of characters.

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.

Wyoming is the hardest line of the three states, insisting that any resident can shoot wolves on sight, for no reason at all. These are hateful people and they vent their sickness by killing things "for fun".

There are now 1700 wolves in the three states. When you look at the acreage of each state, you being to wonder what the problem is:

Montana comes in at 147,000 sq miles. Idaho? 83,000 sq miles. Wyoming is 97,000 sq miles. The state of Minnesota, which has more wolves than all those states combined and far less acreage doesn’t have these issues because there seems to be a better understanding of the science.

People who have little understanding of science are upset that the wolves kill elk, which of course is true. But not to the level they think they do. In fact, hunting elk is far more harmful to the population than any wolf pack. If these complainers were so concerned about elk populations, perhaps they should cease firing deadly projectiles at them?

The Northern Rocky Mountain wolf population is under assault. Many wolves are tranquilized, collared and then followed so agents can destroy the pack - even young pups.

I really hoped that a new administration would change how our public lands and wildlife were managed from the Bush years. Unfortunately, it's largely the same. Ken Salazar, the guy who bungled the Gulf Spill is a corporate rancher who is largely upholding Bush era policies. Many of these departments still have numerous Bush loyalists. There's been no change. All Obama had to do was hire a reformer and remain hands off to succeed here. He failed, and now we have a Democratic, supposedly conservation friendly administration siding with right wing extremists in gutting the Endangered Species Act. Even John Tester is in on the act.

Disgusting.

It's nothing but a distraction for angry people. The fact it's even gotten this much attention is sad. But it's what you do when you don't want to deal with reality. You conjure up an enemy and focus everything on that rather than improving yourself and your community. To these people, enemies are things with teeth, things they can't control, things that don't make them money.

For further reading, I recommend this article by George Weurthner:

Do ranchers have a right to a predator free landscape?

Originally posted to Gallatin on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 09:06 AM PST.

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