February 02, 2009

Governor, Delegation Call On President To Proceed With Wolf Delisting

(BOISE) - Idaho leaders have sent a letter to President Barack Obama today, asking him to allow publication of a federal rule removing wolves from the list of endangered species and implementing Idaho's state wolf management plan.

"Idaho has a long and successful history of managing big game and other species," the letter states. "We are prepared to manage wolves in a sustainable manner within our borders."

The letter is signed by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, U.S. Senator Jim Risch, U.S. Representative Mike Simpson and U.S. Representative Walt Minnick.   It reads:

Dear Mr. President,

On behalf of the people of Idaho, we congratulate you on your victory. We are prepared to work with you and your administration on the critical issues facing our nation.

We are writing regarding the January 20 letter from Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to the respective heads of executive departments and agencies. The letter states that "no proposed or final regulation should be sent … for publication unless and until it has been reviewed and approved …"

We understand your need to have a firm grasp of all changes to federal rules and regulations, and thus the need to temporarily suspend changes to those rules. One of the rules now in suspension directly impacts Idaho.

Wolves were reintroduced into Idaho in 1995 by federal wildlife officials. That decision was and remains one of the most contentious natural resources issues in our state, and grew worse when Idaho's wolf population quickly flourished to eight times the recovery objectives for Idaho under the Endangered Species Act

Idaho has a long and successful history of managing big game and other species. We are prepared to manage wolves in a sustainable manner within our borders.

It has long been the contention of scientists, ranchers, sportsmen, conservationists and public officials that the wolf population needs to be managed, and that decisions about the management should be made here in Idaho. Thanks in part to the broad consensus on a plan for management of the wolf population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to de-list wolves from the Endangered Species List, and allow Idaho to implement its wolf management plan.

That decision met with praise from our bipartisan delegation and many other constituency groups interested in the process - including people on both ends of the issue. However, that process is now on hold due to the Executive Order on regulations.

We are asking that your administration review this proposed rule change as expeditiously as possible, take into consideration the consensus-based example Idaho will set in executing its management plan, the biological success the species has achieved in our state and accept with our respect a request from this bipartisan delegation and Governor's Office that the rule change go forward.

We are more than willing to meet with Interior officials to discuss this issue and work together toward timely resolution. Your administrations assistance and willingness to proceed quickly on the issue will do much to rebuild and strengthen the trust between the citizens of Idaho and their Federal Government.