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Governor, Idaho Congressional Delegation Praise Wolf Delisting

(BOISE) - Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter and all four members of Idaho's congressional delegation joined today in praising Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's affirmation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to remove gray wolves from the list of threatened and endangered species in Idaho and other areas.

"Wolves are a fully recovered species that is thriving in Idaho. That's a fact, and it is heartening to see that Secretary Salazar recognizes it," said Governor Otter, who urged today's action when he met with Secretary Salazar last month at the National Governors Association conference in Washington, D.C. "We know that well-intentioned but narrowly focused interest groups will challenge this decision, but we in Idaho are determined to continue our policy of responsibly managing wolves for a viable, sustainable population that can co-exist with our ungulate herds, our livestock and our people."

"Secretary Salazar is to be commended for his common-sense decision that now allows Idaho's wolf management plan to be fully implemented," Senator Mike Crapo said. "Idaho's plan reflects the biological reality on the ground and sets the stage for a much more collaborative approach to wolf management in the future. As contentious as this planning has been at times, the effort involving the federal government, the State of Idaho, the Tribes, the livestock industry and conservationists has been affirmed by the Secretary and reflects yet again the power of collaboration in successfully recovering species."

"As Idaho Governor in 2006 I strongly pushed for the delisting of wolves in our state. Those efforts included conference calls with the Deputy Secretary of the Interior and meetings with the Montana Governor and other Interior officials urging that delisting," Senator Jim Risch said. "My belief was then, and it is affirmed today, that wolves in Idaho are fully recovered and can be managed in a sustainable and responsible way within our borders. I greatly appreciate Secretary Salazar's decision and am confident that it will stand in the face of any litigation it may face."

"I appreciate Secretary Salazar's willingness to look at the facts in this case and make a good, sound decision to delist the wolves in Idaho," Congressman Mike Simpson said. "We've been looking forward to this decision for a long time, and I have great confidence in the ability of the State of Idaho and the Nez Perce Tribe to get it right regarding wolf management. The goal of any ESA listing should be eventual recovery, and I am very pleased with this decision today."

"Over the last month I have lobbied Secretary Salazar to act quickly on this issue. I'm pleased today to see the Department of Interior do just that, and to see the administration acknowledge that states should be in control," Congressman Walt Minnick said. "I've had extensive discussions on this issue with other members of Congress from the West, including Rep. John Salazar, a fellow Blue Dog Democrat and western Colorado cattle rancher who happens to be the secretary's brother. They all recognize the need for local collaboration and local control, and were instrumental in helping move the delisting forward."