18 Mar 2011, 10:09am
Endangered Specious Jackalopes Wildlife Agencies Wolves
by admin

Simpson, Tester, Baucus Seek To Undermine Judge Johnson’s Ruling on Wyoming Wolves

Note: the following is excerpted from a March 17, 2011, letter written to members of the Wyoming Wolf Coalition by their able attorney, Harriet Hageman. The full text is [here].

Alert! High Priority! Call to Action!

Please ask Congress to stop throwing Wyoming to the wolves

by Harriet M. Hageman

Executive Summary

We reported to you earlier this week that the Federal Defendants in the above-referenced actions have voluntarily withdrawn their appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. We were a bit surprised by the agencies’ move in that regard, but now believe that we have uncovered the reasoning behind it.

* Judge Johnson’s decision has now “gone final” in favor of Wyoming’s Wolf Management Plan, and has the full force and effect of law.

* There are troubling efforts afoot in Congress that are designed to reverse this important victory for Wyoming, to “undo” Judge Johnson’s decision, and to nullify the rights of all States to manage their wildlife resources.

The purpose of this letter is to describe those activities, and to issue a call to action for all of you who have fought this battle over the last several decades.

Ruling in Favor of Wyoming’s Wolf Management Plan Becomes Law of the Land

On November 18, 2010, the Honorable Alan B. Johnson, the Federal District Court Judge for the District of Wyoming, issued his “Order Setting Aside Agency Decision in Part and Remanding Agency Decision in Part,” finding that the Defendants (the Department of Interior (DOI), the Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Ken Salazar, Rowan Gould, and Stephen Guertin) had acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in rejecting the Wyoming Wolf Management Plan [here]. More specifically, Judge Johnson concluded (among other things) that the Defendants violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when they rejected Wyoming’s proposal to designate wolves as trophy game animals in certain areas, and predators in others. …

Key testimony provided by the top federal wolf biologist (Ed Bangs) concluded that the “2007 Wyoming wolf plan is a solid science-based conservation plan that will adequately conserve Wyoming’s share of the GYA wolf population so that the NRM wolf population will never be threatened again.” Id. at 032183. As you know, Wyoming has since adopted even more safeguards that what existed in the 2007 Plan.

The Defendants initially appealed Judge Johnson’s decision to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. On Monday of this week, however, they voluntarily dismissed that appeal. Such action resulted in Judge Johnson’s decision “going final,” thereby ensuring that it is not subject to collateral attack. In other words, Judge Johnson’s decision is now “the law of the land” and cannot be attacked by either the federal agencies or any environmental groups. We are pleased that this common-sense result affirms the science-based reality that Wyoming’s Plan provides adequate protections to Wyoming’s wolf population.

Judge Johnson’s decision was a great victory for all of the citizens of the State of Wyoming, including our livestock producers, our sportsmen groups, and our outfitters. It was a great victory for those cities and counties in Wyoming that have suffered the economic impacts of an ever-expanding wolf population. Judge Johnson’s decision, and the dismissal of the 10th Circuit Appeal, will also allow Wyoming to protect its historically-abundant wildlife species, including those elk and moose populations that have suffered so tremendously as the result of the federal agencies’ intransigence associated with the “wolf experiment.” …


I am now writing to you with great disappointment, as I fear that our victory in the wolf saga is now at risk. Once again it appears that politics may prevail over science and good public policy. Wyoming’s Wolf Management Plan and our victory before Judge Johnson are now at risk as the direct result of an amendment that has been introduced by Representative Mike Simpson, a Republican from Idaho, and Senators John Tester and Max Baucus, Democrats from Montana. The amendment would either be added to the “continuing resolutions” that have been in the news lately (to keep the federal government running as the House and Senate seek to hammer out the 2011 budget), or to the budget bill itself.

The purpose of the Simpson/Tester/Baucus amendment is as simple as it is troubling. It is designed to delist the wolf populations in Idaho and Montana, as well as parts of Oregon, Utah and Washington, while the remainder of the States –- including Wyoming -– are left to fend for themselves. Most importantly, however, the very wording of the proposed amendment appears to be designed to nullify Judge Johnson’s decision in its entirety.

Mr. Simpson’s amendment works by reinstating the USFWS’s 2009 Final Rule (the one rejected by Judge Molloy in Montana). There are two sections of the 2009 Rule that are important here, both of which would become law if the Simpson/Tester/Baucus amendment passes. As you remember, the first portion of that Rule approved the then-existing Montana and Idaho Wolf Management Plans, both of which allowed the States to assume management authority over their wolves (although with federal permission and involvement). The second part of the 2009 Final Rule rejected Wyoming’s Wolf Management Plan, stating that “the Wyoming portion of the range represents a significant portion of range where the species remains in danger of extinction because of inadequate regulatory mechanisms.” 74 Fed.Reg. 15123.

Considering the language of the 2009 Rule, if Congressman Simpson and Senators Tester and Baucus were to be successful in including their proposed language as part of either a short-term “continuing resolution,” or the 2011 budget, and such bill passes both the U.S. House and the Senate, we can fully expect that the federal agencies and the environmental groups will argue that Judge Johnson’s decision has been congressionally nullified. Even more troubling is the fact that their amendment includes language that is intended to then block Wyoming from challenging the statute: “Such reissuance [of the Final Rule] shall not be subject to judicial review.” HR 1, Sec. 1713. To state that this is a real and immediate threat to Wyoming’s ability to assume management of the wolf population is an understatement.

You may ask: “why would Simpson, Tester and Baucus seek to impose a rule from 2009 when, from the States’ rights standpoint, and from the standpoint of wolf management, Judge Johnson’s decision is much more favorable to every State in the Union?” I have asked the same question, and none of the answers are favorable.

The actions of Representative Simpson and Senators Tester and Baucus are beyond troubling, and should be cause for concern for anyone who seeks to protect our wildlife populations, our livestock producers, and our States’ rights. Perhaps as significantly (and of grave concern), there are four groups that have endorsed Congressman Simpson’s efforts, and appear to be willing to sacrifice Wyoming’ interests:

* National Rifle Association (NRA)
* Safari Club International (SCI)
* Congressional Sportsmen Foundation (CSF)
* Boone and Crockett

By supporting only limited delisting in just a few of the affected States, these four so-called sportsmen groups have essentially sold out everyone else that has been affected by this issue. While these groups also support all of the wolf delisting bills, including some very good legislation (discussed below), their actions in supporting HR 1 (with Congressman Simpson’s amendment) has allowed the Representatives and Senators to “race for the bottom” in order to take the weakest stand possible on the issue.

While these groups publicly claim that they support delisting in all western States, as well as in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota, their actions are counterproductive. Their support of the amendment described above will likely undermine other pending wolf litigation that will protect all States. Their actions will also have a more dire outcome: the important victory that is represented by Judge Johnson’s decision, and that resulted from years of hard-fought battles and the investment of tens of thousands of dollars, could be lost. This does not hurt only Wyoming, but will hurt every State in the nation that seeks to manage its own wildlife without the federal agencies’ unlawful (and often-times destructive) micro-management out of Washington, D.C.

There are two other bills currently pending in Congress - HR509 and S249, both of which would return management of wolves to all of the affected States. The Simpson/Tester/Baucus approach not only undermines our ability to get either one of these bills passed, but will likely make it more difficult to obtain any additional Congressional action into the foreseeable future. In other words, the actions of Simpson/Tester/Baucus, along with the NRA, SCI, CFS, and Boone and Crocket, have enabled those who seek to prevent the passage of any other bill that would actually provide for legitimate and effective delisting of the wolves.

Passage of the Simpson/Tester/Baucus amendment is not an incremental victory as some would claim. This is not an incremental victory for ensuring that States have the right to manage their own wildlife populations, or an incremental victory under the ESA. Judge Johnson’s decision was a victory. The Simpson/Tester/Baucus effort is designed to take that victory away.

By supporting a weak piece of legislation, these groups have allowed several of the Congressional Representatives and Senators to play both sides of the aisle -– to argue that they support delisting when such claims suit their political aspirations, and to argue that they fought against delisting when such a position will garner them votes from the so-called “environmental” groups. In other words, this amounts to nothing more than obtaining only the slightest and short-term moral victory for a limited number of people, and at the same time ensuring a very troubling defeat for the citizens of Wyoming and for the States’ right to manage wildlife. While we recognize that political compromises are sometimes necessary, I cannot support legislation that is specifically designed to undo Judge Johnson’s finding that the Wyoming Wolf Management Plan is biologically and scientifically sound. This is simply not good science, good public policy or even good politics. …

We fully and whole-heartedly support delisting in Idaho and Montana (and all of the States where wolves exist). Such delisting, however, cannot be done so that Wyoming is sacrificed at the alter of environmental extremism.

Judge Johnson’s decision must stand. We must fight against this effort to use the promise of delisting in Idaho and Montana (and portions of Oregon, Utah, and Washington) as a ruse to nullify the most important decision that the States have obtained in the last seventeen (17)+ years of wolf battles, as well as the rights of States to control their own destiny in terms of wildlife management.

Please contact the offices of Congressman Simpson, and Senators Tester and Baucus and ask them to support only HR 509 and S249. Please request that they not re-introduce the Wyoming-busting amendment described above.

Please contact Representative Lummis’ office and thank her for her strength and continued efforts to fight this battle on your behalf. Please call the offices of Senators Enzi and Barrasso and thank them for their hard work in supporting the right bills on this issue, while fighting against the bad ones. Our Congressional Delegation has stood strong on this issue, and we need to commend them for their efforts on our behalf.

Please contact the NRA, SCI, CFS and Boone and Crocket and ask them to stop their support of an amendment that is specifically designed to undo our important and hard-fought victories. Ask them to instead focus their efforts on passing a solution that protects all of the States that have been plagued by this predator. Ask them to stop throwing Wyoming to the wolves.

Please distribute this letter to anyone you believe could help us to expose what is going on in Congress.


Harriet M. Hageman

18 Mar 2011, 10:52am
by Mike

Rep. Mike Simpson is a RINO and frequent saboteur of conservative causes. Sen. Jon Tester is a pro-holocaust forest destroyer and darling of the Earth First! monkey-wrencher crowd. Sen. Max Baucus is the single most corrupt, bribe-taking member of Congress.

This unholy troika seeks to undermine wolf delisting and ensure endless litigation. They wish to thwart HR509 and S249, which would delist gray wolves nationwide.

H 509 and S249 are supported by Representatives and Senators from over 30 states. Those bills are on the verge of passage. Simpson/Tester/Baucus are attempting to backstab those bills through cynical maneuvers.

Don’t be fooled by the Unholy Troika!

It is appalling that organizations such as the NRA and SCI are supporting Simpson/Tester/Baucus. We really don’t need to be backstabbed by those pseudo-conservative lobbyist groups, either. If you are a member, please withdraw your support and cut off their funding.

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is the dumbest thing conservative conservationists could do right now.

18 Mar 2011, 10:54am
by John R.

I have had gnawing doubts about the real value of the “compromise bill” sponsored by Idaho Representative Simpson and Senators Tester and Baucus of Montana. This compromise bill would reinstate USFWS 2009 Final Rule while delisting the wolf in Idaho, Montana and in parts of Washington, Oregon, and Utah, while leaving all other states out in the trade off.

That was bad enough; but there is an even greater deleterious effect of this bill that has come to light. In addition, the Simpson/Tester/Baucus bill will overrule and sacrifice the great victory that Wyoming just obtained in Federal Court (Judge Johnson) upholding the Wyoming wolf management plan, which designated wolves as trophy animals in the NW part of the State and as a predator capable of being shot elsewhere in the State. Contrary to Judge Johnson’s ruling, the 2009 Final Rule rejected Wyoming’s wolf management plan states that “the Wyoming portion of the range represents a significant portion of range where the species remains in danger of extinction because of inadequate regulatory mechanisms.” In his decision, Judge Johnson found, “There is no scientific or commercial data that suggests the state’s dual classification of wolves, in and of itself, cannot meet, accomplish, and maintain the identified recovery goals in the GYA, including northwestern Wyoming.” Reimplementation of the 2009 Final Rule will eradicate this great court decision, which is now final and beyond the appeal time.

Moreover, the Simpson/Tester/Baucus bill will significantly weaken the chances for the passage of other contemporary companion bills that are in play: HR509 and S249. These two companion bills provide far more flexibility and control over wolves and don’t throw Wyoming under the bus. The Simpson/Tester/Baucus bill is a “political bill,” that will enable politicians to satisfy both sides. The Wyoming victory is the first major victory in the wolf wars. It should not be sacrificed.

19 Mar 2011, 5:14pm
by Barry

Mr. Simpson is playing a dangerous political game considering he is from Idaho. Tester and Baucus may have the liberty of playing to the progressives of Montana, but if Simpson thinks he’ll slide through the next election by claiming a victory in getting wolves ‘delisted’ under such a guise in the state of Idaho, he is seriously mistaken.

He has already been contacted, and he has already been informed of the people who will work against his reelection should he continue down this path of deceit. Crawling in bed with those two clowns sure isn’t going to fly well in this state.

Allowing continued abuse of the system and the EAJA by these environmental, so called, nonprofits, so-called, just is not acceptable. Watching a state by state attack take place that is nothing but a rerun of what this state was put through is not something I will stand by and just watch happen.

We have learned about you, Mr. Simpson. It would be wise to take note of the changes our side has brought about, and if you want that working against you, so be it, but when you find yourself booted in the next primary, you won’t have anyone to blame but yourself.

21 Mar 2011, 7:58am
by Jeff W.

I appreciate the update. I am inclined to fight any legislation where the Feds step on states rights. In my opinion each State has taken a STUPID approach to fighting this. All the States needed to do is simply say, “We are our own rulers and you (the Feds) have no jurisdiction here. If you try to fight it we will not abide by your unlawful intrusion.”

And then simply ignore the Federal efforts. Yes, IGNORE them. Even acknowledging them is a mistake. Each County has the Constitutionally supported Sheriff who is the law in that county. Period. The Feds only have power when we are dumb enough to give it to them. That being said I am an Idahoan and want to see our State Delisted. Our ungulate herds have been devastated. I think the design is to create infighting between states so the Feds can justify control. So how is Idaho protected because of Johnson’s decision? Also then how is Wyoming affected because of legislation for Idaho and Montana? Its all BS to me and I cannot tell the good from the bad anymore. So that is why I suggest we all tell the Feds to simply shove it. Your never going to win such a battle when the average joe hunter cannot figure it out. We need to fight the bigger battle of STATES RIGHTS by simply ignoring Feds overstepping.

21 Mar 2011, 12:45pm
by Bob Fanning

Mike Dubrasich, Exec Dir W.I.S.E., John Runft, Esq and Ryan Benson, Esq have nailed this.
Nothing else to add. Here is what Benson is saying;

“This means the government is saying once again, to rely on trust instead of legal protections for the future of proper wolf management. This model has not worked for 20 years. It will not work now.”
“In other words, if we hope to restore balance to game herds, primacy of state wildlife decision-making must also be restored when it comes to wolves. From a practical standpoint, this will not happen as long as: (a) the federal government remains in an oversight role; and (b) the one-sided litigation provisions can be abused by environmental and animal rights litigants. Removing these litigation provisions is a simple as removing wolves from the federal statutes. All state wildlife protections will remain in place for wolves under this scenario.”

“This is a fight for fundamental freedoms. We call on all shooting, livestock and hunting non-profit organizations to stick together and finish the job we started. United we stand. Divided we fall.”

The unity is the nuclear weapon the “Progressive ” left, their lawyers and the NGO’s fear the most.



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