17 Apr 2011, 9:10am
Homo sapiens Wolves
by admin

Federal Wolves - States Rights

by Idaho State Rep. Phil Hart

Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:

Today there are many issues that confront our political institutions. We are living in interesting times. For state governments the big issues are balancing budgets and federal government encroachment. And for the state of Idaho, the face of federal government encroachment is that of a Canadian Gray Wolf.

Under the authority of the Endangered Species Act, in the mid-70’s Washington D.C. bureaucrats began to contemplate the introduction of wolves into parts of the so called lower 48 states.

Over the objections of the Idaho Legislature, the governor of Idaho, and Idaho’s congressional delegation, in 1995 the federal Fish and Wildlife Service introduced 35 Canadian Gray Wolves into central Idaho. A like number of wolves were introduced into Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, just across the Idaho border.

The plan was to protect this population of Gray Wolves such that their numbers would increase to 300 and at least 30 breeding pairs across the three state region of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The Idaho Legislature, with a gun to its head, agreed to this scheme in a 2002 Wolf Management Plan it ratified; while at the same time passing a resolution stating that its real desire was to remove the wolves from Idaho all together. The DC bureaucrats were going to introduce the wolves no matter what the state of Idaho wanted; and the negotiated 2002 Wolf Management Plan reflected Idaho’s effort to at least have a say in the process. …

The Canadian Gray Wolf was introduced as a “nonessential experimental” species as defined by the Endangered Species Act. The ESA only allows the introduction of an “experimental species” when the original native species is extinct. But the Idaho Timberwolf was not extinct; we had about 80 of them. These Timberwolves were documented by recognized experts. No problem for the federal government, they just solved that dilemma by lying. Consequently, the introduction of the Canadian Gray Wolf into Idaho was based on fraud.

It gets worse. Under the original agreement Idaho was to have 100 wolves with 10 breeding pairs (our share of the three state total of 300 wolves with 30 breeding pairs). That goal was achieved in about 2002. Today, nine years later the Canadian Gray Wolf is still listed as “endangered”. The wolf issue has been tied up in endless lawsuits promoted by the environmentalists. Demonizing the wolf opposition and litigating on the issue has proved to be a money making machine for these left of center folks. Each time the environmental advocacy groups file a pro-wolf lawsuit, they rake in the bucks and contribute to the mismanagement of the wolf introduction process. …

In 2002, the Idaho Legislature agreed to manage a population of one hundred wolves. We now have somewhere between 800 to 2,000 wolves. The wolf population is out of control. And experts predict unacceptable consequences to the people of Idaho and their livestock, pets and the big game resources of the state. As the Canadian Gray Wolf consumes itself out of its natural food sources, it will turn to those areas inhabited by people for something to eat. There are already areas of Idaho where the big game numbers are so diminished that the big game herds are now in what is called a “predator pit”, a condition where the number of animals left in a herd are not enough to sustain that herd given the depredation rate unless there is aggressive human management.

Today, wolves are increasingly visiting areas occupied by humans. They have been seen numerous times within the city limits of small towns. Wolf kills have been found as close as three miles from the Statehouse located in Boise. The experts say that wolves are becoming habituated to the rural and urban fringe areas of Idaho. When this occurs, the experts tell us to expect the worst.

Idaho has an emergency. And according to the Idaho Constitution, the first and foremost duty of the state government is found at article I, section 1, “All men… have certain inalienable rights, among which are enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property, pursuing happiness and securing safety.” Both the legislative and executive branches of state government are empowered to declare an emergency.

For some of those who live in rural Idaho today, all of those rights referred to in article I, section 1 of Idaho’s state Constitution is now at risk, or has already been completely taken away. Those who have wolves frequent their neighborhoods have lost the quiet enjoyment of their property and are physically at risk. Idaho has an emergency, and we need to reduce the number of wolves in Idaho.

“The promotion of safety of persons and property is unquestionably at the core of the State’s police power….” Kelley v. Johnson, 425 U.S. 238, 247 (1976).

When the states met in Philadelphia in 1787 to draft the Constitution, they met as individual sovereign states, each of whom possessed all the power of any sovereign government on planet Earth. In the process of drafting the Constitution, they delegated portions of their sovereignty to the federal government through the express language of the Constitution. And just to make it clear as to what the limits of that delegated power was, they included the Bill of Rights the Tenth Amendment of which states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the state, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

The police power of the sovereign has been retained by the states, and in no way has it been shared with the federal government. And when lives, peoples’ safety and the protection of property are at risk, our state government has a duty to exercise its police power and protect Idahoans and their property. …

Worldwide, there are several hundred thousand gray wolves. From a global perspective, the gray wolf is not threatened. Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Canadian Gray Wolf has been categorized as “nonessential – experimental.” This is the lowest category in terms of importance that can be given to a species by the ESA. In any balancing analysis that might be made judicially, something that is “nonessential” is not going to trump the necessity to protect the life and safety of American Citizens. …

These are federal wolves, as it was the federal government who introduced them into Idaho over our objections. They told the state of Idaho that the wolves would be considered recovered when we had a total of 100 wolves in Idaho. Now we have between 800 and 2,000 wolves and the situation is out of control.

Idaho’s wolf emergency is a state issue. And in this situation, the state of Idaho has both a duty and the authority to protect its people and their property. House Bill 343 lays out the facts, the argument and the authority to do so. And the governor can devise a process, outlined in an executive order, that is dignified and methodical in confronting this emergency. Now is the time for Idaho to exercise its sovereign power, expressly retained by states as evidenced by the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

17 Apr 2011, 1:41pm
by George D.

Tomorrow, Monday April 18, 2011, Idaho Governor Butch Otter will reportedly either sign, veto or let HB 343 become law without his signature. Comments in the USFWS 2009 Wolf Delisting agreement (which will now become federal law) leave no doubt that Gov. Otter’s written support of the IDFG 2008 Wolf Plan was responsible for FWS citing Idaho’s intention to increase the minimum number of wolves to five times as many as Idaho agreed to in its lawful 2002 wolf plan.

Gov. Otter recently directed the Idaho F&G Commission to discard its 2008 wolf plan (to manage for 518 or more wolves) that was never lawfully approved by the Legislature. Yet on Friday, April 15th, FWS Wolf Leader Ed Bangs sent an email declaring the FWS intention to add an additional five years of FWS control if Idaho changed its management objectives to increase the “threat” to the wolf population.

Gov. Otter’s advisers got him into this predicament originally and now they are suggesting that the FWS 2009 Delisting Proposal will solve Idaho’s wolf problems, and claiming HB 343 is no longer needed. That is not true.

Unless you are prepared to endure the loss of Idaho’s renewable natural resource harvests (wild game, forest and agricultural products, etc.) that are vital to rural Idahoans’ survival, I urge you to call Gov. Otter’s office tomorrow morning at (208)334-2100 or fax him at (208)334-3454 and urge him NOT to veto HB 343.

Your future is in your hands,

Thank you.



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