Same bad plan to delist wolves in the Northern Rockies

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Salazar strips federal Endangered Species Act protection from wolves in Idaho, Montana

(03/06/2009) - WASHINGTON – Today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced he has decided to follow the Bush administration’s flawed decision to remove the protections of the Endangered Species Act from wolves in Idaho and Montana.

The following is a statement by Rodger Schlickeisen, president for Defenders of Wildlife:

“Today is a truly disappointing day for Americans who care deeply about the Northern Rockies wolf population and for the integrity of the Endangered Species Act. We are outraged and disappointed that Secretary Salazar has chosen to push the same, terrible Bush administration plan for wolf delisting just six weeks into President Obama’s administration.

“We all expected more from the Obama administration, but Defenders of Wildlife will now move to sue Secretary Salazar as quickly as possible.

“Just three days ago, we were thrilled when President Obama stood before employees of the Department of the Interior, with Secretary Salazar at his side, and vowed to ‘help restore the scientific process to its rightful place at the heart of the Endangered Species Act.’ Yet today, Secretary Salazar announced that he is adopting a rule that is just as flawed now as it was when the Bush administration issued this appalling plan.  Americans voted for change last November.  Today Secretary Salazar gave us more of the same discredited approach to conservation followed by the Bush administration for the past eight years.

“All the reasons why this plan was a bad idea when the Bush administration proposed it still stand today. If this rule is allowed to stand, nearly two-thirds of the wolves in the Northern Rockies could be killed. This plan would undermine the goal of ensuring a healthy, sustainable wolf population in the region. Secretary Salazar’s terrible decision leaves us no choice. We will stand up for wolves and endangered species conservation by moving immediately to challenge this delisting in court.”

The following is a statement by Suzanne Stone, northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife.

“Nothing about this rule has changed since it was rejected and deemed unlawful in a federal court in July of 2008. It still fails to adequately address biological concerns about the lack of genetic exchange among wolf populations in the northern Rockies and it still fails to address the concerns with the states’ wolf management plans and regulations that undermine a sustainable wolf population by killing too many wolves.

“We had hoped for a new delisting plan, based on current science that provides for a healthy, well connected wolf population in the region. Instead we are forced to, once again, challenge a bad rule forcing the expenditure of time and money that would have been much better served towards developing responsible state management plans.

“Delisting the wolf at this point completely undermines the serious work, consideration and cooperation among all stakeholders that is necessary before being able to seriously declare the gray wolf recovered.”

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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.  With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come.  For more information, visit www.defenders.org.

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Contact(s):

Erin McCallum, (202) 772-3217, (610) 207-5209 (cell)
Suzanne Stone, (208) 424-9385, (208) 861-4655 (cell)

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