Congress removes wolves from Endangered Species List
For the first time ever, Congress has removed an animal from the Endangered Species List. The budget agreed to last week contained a rider stating that wolves will be taken off the list in Montana and Idaho. This sets a dangerous precedent for allowing political influence to determine which animals are allowed, or not allowed, on the list.
The act is in direct violation of a federal judge’s decision that forbade the U.S. Department of the Interior from interfering with the list. The move is troubling environmental groups who say species should only be removed from the list after scientific evidence suggests it’s acceptable. This rider is the first instance of an animal being removed from the Endangered Species List by direct Congressional intervention.
Overall, the budget past last week included a lot of cuts to environmental programs and climate change initiatives. But to be fair, it could have been much worse. The wolf issue is a big political debate in Montana, which pits ranchers and hunters against each other.
While it’s not entirely clear yet how the budget will effect environmental groups, this seems to set a troubling precedent. Animals allowed on the Endangered Species List should be determined by experts, not influenced by political agendas.