House Subcommittee Approves Funds For Olympic Wolf Environmental Impact Statement

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(06/17/1997) - Washington, D.C. - The House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee today approved up to $350,000 for initiation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) on possible reintroduction of wolves in Olympic National Park in Washington state.

Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen said, "Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) and Chairman Ralph Regula (R- OH), the Interior Department can move expeditiously to examine the possibility of reintroducing wolves to the Olympics and the public can have an opportunity to consider the issue in detail." Rep. Dicks and Schlickeisen co-hosted a conference of wolf experts in Olympic National Park in April of this year. Defenders' President characterized today's subcommittee vote as, "just the latest in a series of positive initiatives that recognize that despite the persecution of wolves earlier in this century, Americans want a new day for the wolf."

In 1995 and 1996, Schlickeisen notes, the nation celebrated as wolves were reintroduced to our first national park and successfully acclimated themselves to the Yellowstone area. In 1996, Defenders and other citizens in New York and throughout the Northeast began a campaign to examine reintroduction of wolves to the Adirondack Mountains. Early in 1997, after completion of the environmental impact statement and public hearings process, the Interior Department announced the Administration's decision to reintroduce the Mexican wolf into the Blue Range of Arizona and New Mexico in the winter of 1998. At the April conference in Washington state, experts said wolf reintroduction in the Olympics held great promise of success but should be studied further through the EIS process.

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Contact(s):

Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270

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