A Hastings-led howl against protecting wolves


Friday, November 15, 2013 by: Joel Connelly

Seventy-five members of Congress are demanding that the Obama administration end all protection of the gray wolf as “endangered” or “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act, in an effort organized by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Washington.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has already de-listed wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains — leading to big, officially encouraged wolf kills, particularly in Idaho — and in the Great Lakes States.

Wolves have moved south from protected lands on the U.S.-Canada border to repopulate the Washington Cascades.  e Teanaway wolf pack in the Cascade Mountains. (Photo courtesy of Conservation Northwest).

The gray wolf has moved south from protected lands on the U.S.-Canada border to repopulate the Washington Cascades, including the Teanaway Valley. (Photo courtesy of Conservation Northwest).

In Washington, wolves are still under federal protection in the Cascades, but not in the Kettle Range and Selkirk Mountains of Northeast Washington. There, they receive state protection, which is under attack by conservative state legislators.

The lawmakers’ letter uses age-old arguments for removing protection so that wolves can be killed.

“Since wolves were first provided protection under the ESA, uncontrolled and unmanaged growth of wolf populations has resulted in devastating impacts on hunting and ranching and tragic damages to historically strong and healthy herds of moose, elk, bighorn sheep and mule deer,” they wrote in the letter to Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Mitch Friedman, executive director of Conservation Northwest, a Washington-based group that has championed wolf recovery, scoffed at the letter’s assertions.

“It’s surprising Little Red Riding Hood isn’t mentioned,” said Friedman.

“The letter acknowledges that ‘federal policy must be based on best available science,’ then goes on to make the false and hyperbolic claim about ‘devastating impacts’ on fishing and ranching,” Friedman added. “Throughout wolf territory, game populations are generally at or above levels desired by state managers.

“These Tea Party legislators have so proven Congress that they’ve resorted to attempting policy by press release.  Their letter is off enough on matters of law, science and facts.”

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash.: Bipartisan legislation to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and protect the Middle Fork-Snoqualmie River, in eastern King County, can't get the time of day in his committee..

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash.: He is lead on a letter, signed by 75 members of Congress, demanding an end to all federal protection of wolves under the Endangered Species Act.

Hastings is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.  Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, R-Wash., who also signed the letter, is a member of the House Republican Leadership.

The gray wolf has returned to Washington’s mountains in recent year.  A killing spree by three Okanogan County residents — who were caught and prosecuted under federal law — nearly destroyed one pack that had established itself in the upper Methow Valley of the North Cascades.

Other packs have located in the upper Teanaway Valley, in the Cascades north of Cle Elum, as well as in northeast Washington.  A majority of the state’s wolf population has the misfortune to live in congressional districts represented by Hastings and McMorris Rodgers.

The letter asking for de-listing of wolves is signed by a who’s-who of Tea Party members in Congress, including such luminaries as Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas and Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho.

A pair of conservative House Democrats, Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jim Matheson of Utah, signed the letter.

The letter also opposes a proposal to list the rare Mexican wolf, found in the Southwest, as a subspecies under the Endangered Species Act. Such a listing would have a “Severe impact on private landowners, including ranchers” in Arizona and New Mexico, the lawmakers claim.

“We believe that state governments are fully qualified to responsibly manage wolf populations and are better able to meet the needs of local communities and wildlife populations,” said the letter.

Friedman argued the reverse, saying that Hastings and his allies are grandstanding and doing nothing to encourage cooperation between local communities and conservation groups.

“Real ranchers and communities — including in Eastern Washington — are stepping up to work with groups like ours on practices that allow wolves and livestock to share the land,” he said.

“There are ways that Doc Hastings and Cathy McMorris Rodgers could help, but I’m still waiting for their call.”


5 thoughts on “A Hastings-led howl against protecting wolves

  1. Hey Representative Hastings. It is apparent that you are confusing grey wolves with the shape shifting werewolves described in your favorite reading material. Heck, maybe you could call upon the hot dog loving Bachmann to help track down these dastardly critters. Better yet why don’t you and the rest of the 75 morons that signed your letter walk into the woods together and try to silence the Washington Squatches from howling at all hours of the night. You know Washington is getting a reputation for allowing big foot, slender man, alien rats and other miscreants to infiltrate the old growth forests of the Great Northwest. You all would fit in just fine. Better yet Rep Hastings, actually do something worthwhile in Congress and quit wasting American Citizens’ time, money and patience on your obvious attention seeking and money grabbing tactics. Oh wait, you can’t; you’re a morally bankrupt louse like the rest of the 75 cognitively defective wastes of atmosphere and space that allegedly signed your letter.

  2. It’s obvious that, as Michael Moore says, Representatives Mc-Morris-Rodgers and Hastings and the other 70+ members of Congress are totally ignorant of the positive contributions of wild wolves in areas where deer and elk share the land. They are simply pandering to their base and playing politics in a game in which they want something from the other members of Congress who signed on to the letter in support of nationwide delisting of the Gray Wolf. About 75% of the citizens of Washington State support Wolf recovery. Let’s hope that the rest of the members of Washington’s delegation will refuse to go along with this mean-spiritied scheme. The most Orwellian thing that I can think of is having Doc Hastings as Chair of the “Natural Resources Committee” in the U. S. Congress. How crazy is that???

  3. Here is a copy of a comment I had recieved on a article posted. Thought this was a good share.

    Victoria D.

    Based on this tragic news, I am submitting the following supplemental comment to the U.S. Fishing and Wildlife Service at:
    The management of wolves cannot be left to the states because it is all too likely that politics and dishonesty will prevail over truth and sound practices. What recently happened in Michigan provides an example of this type of disaster:
    Michigan residents tried to bring the issue of wolf hunting to voters in the state. A coalition of conservation groups, animal welfare organizations, wildlife professionals, veterinarians, hunters, ranchers, several American Indian tribes and residents successfully gathered more than 255,000 signatures to place the issue on the November 2014 ballot.
    Even before these signatures could be validated, a small group of anti-wolf forces got a fast-track bill passed that allowed the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to designate wolves as a game species, which it did, and this cannot be overturned by a referendum vote of Michigan citizens.
    A series of investigations subsequently revealed that the information used by the anti-wolf forces was based heavily on lies and made up stories.
    A leading sponsor of the law that led to the current slaughter of the wolves which is now occurring in Michigan finally apologized for including a fictional account in a resolution urging Congress to strip federal protection from gray wolves. His belated admission should be heeded now: “A decision here of whether or not we use sound science to manage wolves, as with all decisions this body makes, should not be based on emotions, agendas or innuendo, but rather on facts.”
    A Furbearer Specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources admitted that he spoke falsely when he claimed on Michigan Radio that wolves in the Upper Peninsula were becoming unmanageable and people were seeing wolves “showing up in backyards, wolves showing up on porches, wolves staring at people through their sliding glass doors when they’re pounding on it, exhibiting no fear…”
    Further, investigation revealed that 96 out of 120 animals claimed to have been killed by wolves were by a single farmer who had used poor husbandry, illegal practices, and intentionally “failed to use non-lethal wolf deterrent means” – including fencing and guard donkeys worth $ 4,000 the Michigan Department of Natural Resources had provided to him.
    It is now in your hands to ensure this same type of catastrophe does not occur throughout our country– sound science, rather than politics and those who play fast and loose with the truth, should decide this issue.

    Please Care2 wolf lovers, copy and submit this or do something similar.

    • In Washington State our Fish and Wildlife Commission has already moved the Gray Wolf out of the Endangered Species Division and into the Big Game Division. This is extremely upsetting to those who are working for wolf recovery, social tolerance for such an important animal, and respect for this noble creature. The WDFW fully expects to see wolves hunted and killed in WA State.

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