Baucus, Tester introduce legislation to restore Montana management of wolves
Senators Urge a “Common Sense, Lasting” Solution for Wolf Management
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Montana’s U.S. Senators, Max Baucus and Jon Tester, introduced legislation today to return the Northern Rocky Mountain population of the gray wolf found in Montana to state
“This bill provides a common sense solution that will put wolves in Montana back in Montana’s control,” said Baucus. “No one – especially the federal government – knows how to manage wolves in Montana better than Montanans. Montana’s successful management plan and wolf hunt have protected ranchers and wolves. The debate has gone on long enough. This plan is a real, lasting solution that gives our Montana ranchers and hunters the certainty they deserve while recognizing the good science and management practices on the ground.”
“The Endangered Species Act shouldn’t allow one state to hold another hostage,” said Tester, author of the popular Wolf Livestock Loss Mitigation Act. “This legislation is a sensible proposal for a complicated issue that directly affects a lot of folks in Montana. It restores Montana’s ability to manage wolves in a way that works for ranchers, hunters and wolves, and it includes fair safeguards should Montana’s wolf numbers ever get too low. I look forward to discussing the future of wolves and the next course of action in the coming weeks.”
“We thank Senator Baucus for his hard work in drafting this bill to protect Montana’s family ranches from the ever-increasing impact of wolves,” said Errol Rice, executive vice president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “Our goal, along with Senator Baucus, has been to ensure that Montana ranchers have the necessary tools to protect their cattle from wolves. Wolves are fully recovered in Montana and it is time they are removed from the list of endangered species.”
The Montana Wildlife Federation – Montana’s oldest and largest hunter and angler conservation organization is throwing its full support behind the Baucus-Tester effort. “We thank Senator Baucus for taking a leadership role on this important issue and Senator Tester for co-sponsoring. Montanans know how to manage wildlife, including wolves, for the long term conservation and viability of the species,” said Montana Wildlife Federation’s Ben Lamb. “This bill helps restore the balance that we have been working toward since the first delisting back in 2008. Most importantly, it preserves the intent and the integrity of the Endangered Species Act in light of continued litigation and unnecessary stonewalls.” Lamb says the groups’ 7,500 members and 23 affiliated Rod and Gun Clubs back Baucus and Tester’s bill, the Restoring State Wildlife Management Act of 2010.
Montana’s largest agriculture organization, the Montana Farm Bureau is applauding the Baucus and Tester’s Bill. “We have worked for years in our members’ interest to delist wolves and place them under state management,” said John Youngberg with the Montana Farm Bureau. “We appreciate Senator Baucus bringing legislation and look forward to working toward getting this passed. It is imperative that the Senator continue to follow this legislation to make sure it passes as soon as possible”.
Earlier this month, Baucus sent a letter to Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Rowan Gould asking the Service to take action to bring wolves in northern Montana under the same management rules as those in the southern half of the state and allow all Montana landowners to protect their property from wolves.
The Baucus-Tester Restoring State Wildlife Management Act of 2010 includes the following provisions:
- Removes gray wolves located in Montana and Idaho from the list of threatened species or endangered species published under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
- Places wolves in Montana back under the control of a state management plan approved by the Secretary of Interior.
The legislation is available online at tester.senate.gov/wolf.