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If you're already pissed about Obama's budget deal, prepare to get madder:

Gray wolves in Montana and Idaho would be taken off the endangered list under the budget bill pending before Congress, two Western lawmakers said.

Inclusion of the language to lift protections for wolves was confirmed by the offices of Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson on Saturday.

Wolf reintroduction in the Rockies has been a huge success, but this bill will allow hunting, trapping, and aerial shooting of wolves in the Rockies.  If you want to hear a wolf howling in the wild, I'd make that trip to Yellowstone soon.  Because there won't be many left if the states have their way.

And what those states want to do is kill wolves.

Idaho and Montana wolves would be managed under state plans, which could allow the killing of as many as roughly 900 wolves, down to a minimum of about 100-150 wolves per state.  That’s a lot of dead wolves, and a major reversal of the progress made to date to recover a top predator in a landscape where humans had eliminated them.

Amazingly, conservation groups had already negotiated a settlement with the U.S. government to support de-listing wolves in exchange for decent management plans from Idaho and Montana.  But that settlement was thrown out this weekend.  And now the wolves will be de-listed by fiat, and the states will be free to manage wolves in any manner they see fit

We, taxpayers, spent roughly $30 million dollars reintroducing wolves to the northern Rockies.  The population went from near zero to over 1,600 wolves today.  Millions of tourists come to the Rockies each year to hear wolves howl or attempt to catch a glimpse.  And now they're going to be targeted for removal to assuage ranchers and elk hunters whose ideas of wildlife management haven't evolved past the 19th century.

My support for Obama has been hanging on a thin thread.  Signing this rider into law will be a sucker punch to his environmentalist base.

(For more, see good articles here and here).

Originally posted to Scott in NAZ on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 07:51 AM PDT.

Also republished by Park Avenue.

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