POLITICS TRUMPS SCIENCE: MT & IDAHO WOLVES REMOVED FROM THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
In a completely incredible move that flew beneath the radar of many, and completely bypassed the interest threshold of others, Senator Jon Testor and Rep. Mike Simpson from Montana and Arizona respectively, managed to get an inconspicuous, 11 line rider on this month’s must pass budget bill, that removed the Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf from the endangered species list in Montana and Idaho. What is more, the rider forbids judicial review.
In other words, screw the science or the legality of the wolves survival, politics and special interest groups won out.
The LA Times’ Kim Murphy has a good factual story on the matter here.
But it is Friday’s NY Times editorial that best gets to the heart of the matter. Here is a clip:
As part of its budget bill, Congress approved a brief rider, 11 lines long, that removes gray wolves in Idaho and Montana from the protections of the Endangered Species Act. The rider overturns a recent court ruling, prohibits further judicial review and cannot be good for the wolf. But the worst part is that it sets a terrible precedent — allowing Congress to decide the fate of animals on the list.
The law’s purpose is to base protections on science. Now that politics has been allowed to trump science when it comes to the gray wolf, which species will be next?
The rider’s sponsors, Senator Jon Tester of Montana and Representative Mike Simpson of Idaho, were responding to the demands of ranchers, who sometimes lose livestock to wolves, and hunters, who complain that wolves reduce deer and elk populations.
Sadly and surprisingly, they were abetted by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who declared last month that he would accept what he called a “legislative solution” to the status of the wolf in the Rocky Mountains. One Interior Department official has argued that without this concession, the rider might well have been far more radical — possibly removing wolves everywhere from protection.
There is so much emotion and disinformation on the issue of wolves in the Rockies.
It is very disappointing that Jon Testor, whom I usually like, was one of this wrong-head bill’s sponsors.
A BROTHER (AND BROTHER-IN-LAW) OF TWO MURDER VICTIMS CONTEMPLATES THE DEATH PENALTY AND THE MEANING OF MERCY
Read this painful NY Times Op Ed. It has no easy answers but contains much sorrow, anger, confusion and humanness.
CASE OF NEW JERSEY MAN AND MANDATORY STRIP SEARCHES
It looks like the case of Albert Florence is headed to the Supreme Court this fall. The question is whether it is a violation of the 4th Amendment to automatically strip search everyone who passes into a jail cell. It’s an interesting case, and one that bears watching.
Read more at the NJ Star Ledger.
THE GUANTANAMO FILES
Monday the New York times begins its series called The Guantanamo files, based on the latest pile of Wikileaks—all a definite Must Read.
CDCR SAYS SAC BEE EDITORIAL ABOUT BROWN/PRISON GUARD CONTRACT IS FULL OF FACTUAL ERRORS
The California Department of Corrections took strong issue with the Sac Bee’s editorial criticizing Jerry Brown’s recently negotiated contract with the CCPOA—the prison guards union—and they make a good case.
So I guess from the wolves point of view the complaint would be that hunters reduce deer and elk populations.
Sorry, hard for me to respond rationally to a subject I feel this strongly about.
(Celeste, hope you watched Game of Thrones last night with the wolf pup snuggled against your side. Dire wolf pups were portrayed rather bravely in the episode).
Arrggh. I have it TiVo’d but haven’t seen it. I do know what happens to Lady the Direwolf, though, and I’m prepared to be traumatized. Lily looks exactly like several of the Direwolves —I mean exactly.
Agreed about the MT wolves. I understand ranchers’ upset, but until the wolves were delisted, they were compensated for any wolf predation, and if a wolf is a livestock killer, in most cases, he or she is shot. Plus wolves represent a small slice of yearly predations. Coyotes kill many, many more livestock than wolves do (as does weather) yet no one goes into this freakout.