Our hope that the U. S. Congress would move to protect endangered wolves was short-lived, lasting only a few days. As we warned in our last email, bad anti-wolf bills continue to wait their turn, bearing deadly consequences for all wildlife. Once again, we need your best effort to contact Senators who hold the fate of wolves, and the Endangered Species Act, in their hands.
In the final hours of Friday, U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii introduced the Senate version of the Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the nation's budget. Sadly, this new version carries the same deadly news for wolves that was contained in the House of Representatives budget bill. It appears that this new wolf rider (Section 1709), promoted by Senator Jon Tester of Montana, is the only anti-environmental rider to resurface in the Senate version of the CR. It contains exactly the same sad language as a rider in the House version of the bill, introduced there by Representative Mike Simpson of Idaho. It is important that our Senators be reminded that the wildlife of this nation belongs to each and every citizen, not to individuals in any one state.
If you believe, as we do, that the protection of wolves should be determined by sound science and biology, and that wolves should not be treated like a political football, please pick up your phone and call as many Senators as you can.
If vulnerable animals, fish and birds can be killed by the whim of anyone who finds them inconvenient, where will this end? Certainly not with wolves, who are in the sad position of being first in line.
Wildlife protection is not a budget priority. A matter of this importance to our nation, overturning a generation of soundly considered protection for wildlife, without adequate discussion, has no place tacked onto a budget bill and being fast-tracked through the Senate.
Will Senators be there over the weekend to receive your call? Some offices may have message services active, or staff on the ground. If you can't get through, please make every effort to call on Monday, as early as possible, since we hear that this bill may move forward in the Senate as early as Tuesday.
Section 1709 seeks to remove wolves from the protections of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). It calls for the reissuance of the April 2, 2009 decision by Interior Secretary Salazar to delist wolves as an endangered species. That decision was found to not be in compliance with the ESA and was rightfully overruled by a federal court.
Disturbingly, the Section also prohibits any future "judicial review." This proposed legislation actually excludes one of our three branches of government, the judicial branch, from any future involvement. If passed, it cannot be challenged in our federal courts.
Until wolves are ready to be delisted based on the guidelines set by the ESA they should remain protected.
When you call, tell them that it is Section 1709 of the Continuing Resolution that you are concerned about. We are providing below a list of the members the U.S. Senate that may be willing to fight for this issue or that we feel should hear from you.
You can remind them that during the lame duck session in December, Senator Cardin of Maryland rightfully objected to and stopped an effort by Idaho Senators Risch and Crapo to seek a last-minute unanimous consent vote to delist wolves. Senator Cardin called this earlier attempt an effort "to solve politically what should be done by good science," and said that such legislation would undermine the ESA. He was right and those concerns are still as valid today as they were then.
Please take a moment to look over this list and call the office of any or all Senators you can, especially if you live in a state they represent. Give their offices a call and politely state your opinion. An effort on your part can lead to big results, but if you want to have your position heard, you must do it Monday morning.
Thank you for your on-going support and diligence. Your voice does matter.
-LIVING WITH WOLVES-