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Rob Kailey is a working schmuck with no ties or affiliations to any governmental or political organizations, save those of sympathy.

Action Alert: Senator Tester and his wolf rider

by: Matthew Koehler

Fri Apr 15, 2011 at 08:22:07 AM MST


Yesterday, Senator Jon Tester's shameful and undemocratic tactic of attaching his wolf rider (anti-Endangered Species Act rider) to the US Senate's must-pass budget bill succeeded.

As the New York Times reported, "Congress for the first time is directly intervening in the Endangered Species List and removing an animal from it, establishing a precedent for political influence over the list....The rider is the first known instance of Congress' directly intervening in the list....The rider also precluded judicial review of this provision."

Senator Tester has now opened up the floodgates for more politicians just simply (and quietly) attaching riders to must pass bills to remove other endangered animal and plant species from ESA protections.  Are salmon next? Desert tortoise? Leatherback turtles? Puma? Black-footed ferret?

Senator Tester's actions are a great gift to developers, the resource extraction industry, other special interests and politicians that don't like the ESA and could really give a toot about protecting native wildlife and plants.  The message is clear: just pass a rider and close the court house door like Montana's Senator Tester!

Senator Tester also forever closed the court-house doors and removed the possibility of any judicial review of his wolf rider, meaning wolves are delisted forever, no matter how low their populations may plummet.  Until Senator Tester, this was never done in the 38 year history of the ESA.

Please make sure to contact Senator Tester directly and let him know how you feel about his wolf/ESA rider.  Thank you.

Click here to send an email: http://tester.senate.gov/Contact/

Senator Tester's D.C. Office phone number is:   (202) 224-2644

To speak with someone at Senator Tester's Missoula office, call or visit:
130 W Front Street
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003

The Endangered Species Coalition has put together a simple-to-use action alert right here:
http://org2.democracyinaction....

Matthew Koehler :: Action Alert: Senator Tester and his wolf rider
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Tester wants blood and guts, or "common-sense" as he calls it. (0.00 / 0)

Coming from the perspective of a "non-settling" group that abhors senseless killing, and tries to speak on behalf of wolves and all voiceless wildlife, is there now no room for this perspective?  Stamped out by the heel of Tester's cowboy boot. And more than enough of the "common-sense" quote already.  

I suppose abusing and killing living things does give one a greater sense of control, but at what cost to wolves, the law (a peaceful means of settling our differences), and our flagging democracy?  Yes, Tester and Simpson have carved out an exemption in the ESA for Montana and Idaho.  Does that automatically end any further debate on non-lethal options to wolf management?  Is brutality and violence accepted without question from here on out?  

When dissent is eliminated, the places where we choose to live get smaller and smaller - not just for wolves.  Empowering dictatorial action gets you more of the same.  I think a lot of Montanans will be looking for a correction in 2012.


I have a couple of issues (0.00 / 0)
With this story. First, what the hell does the EPA protection of Wolves have to do with the "must pass" funding bill? Why was this rider allowed to be attached to that bill in the first place. Shame on you Tester, but more importantly, shame on every Senator that voted that bill without removing unrelated riders. This is complete BS.

Second, if Congress is going to just ignore the Endangered Species Act, why does it exist in the first place. Why do we have an entire agency devoted to enforcing it? Get your crap together and either let the Agency do it's job or fix the law. You don't pass BS like this because it makes the entire law unenforcable.

Unlike most Montanans, I actually think that the wolves should be protected and managed. I do not, for a second, believe most of what I see in the local paper about wolves, their predation or even attacking humans. There has never been a DOCUMENTED case of a healthy wolf attacking a human in the US. PERIOD. I understand the concern people have with wolves predating their livestock and I even understand hunters being concerned that the wolves are reducing the wild animal populations in certain areas (though I would love to see a credible study done on the accusations). The hype is over the top, though - at least in the Dillon Area.

I still get shivers (the good kind) when I remember the pack howling in Kootenai Canyon when Wulfgar and I went hiking up there a couple of years ago. Wolves are a necessary part of the wild ecosystem here in Montana and should be protected and managed to ensure they will continue to be for years to come.


Moorcat, hyperbole doesn't help much (0.00 / 0)
If you remember, on that very same trip I warned you something very similar to this might happen; that both sides of the debate were going to escalate the control issues until nobody was really happy with the result.  That's been the Wyoming strategy since wolves in the region hit target numbers.

Why was this rider allowed to be attached to that bill in the first place. Shame on you Tester, but more importantly, shame on every Senator that voted that bill without removing unrelated riders. This is complete BS.

You might as well be saying "Shame on" most every person who's served in the Congress for at least the last hundred years.  Riders are a well used tactic for passing legislation.  That's why Clinton fought like hell to get the line item veto in 1996.  Sadly that was ruled unconstitutional in 1998, by the Renquist SCOTUS.  The Montana Constitution prohibits any bill from addressing more than one topic.  The Federal Congress has no such governor.

Now, this is simply my opinion, but riders are morally ambivalent, save whose Ox is getting gored.  When they favor the viewer, little to nothing is ever said.  But there is much, MUCH outrage when a rider is used to do something the viewer doesn't like.  Over at New West, on this very issue, one commenter actually wrote that riders are "cheating" and if you don't denounce Tester and this rider then you are advocating "cheating" and lurvs ya' some "Cheaters".  Uhh, no and no.  What Tester did may be distasteful, but it was well within 'the rules'.  And in this game, 'the rules' are the law.  For the record, riders have invariable more favored small population, low representation states.

Second, if Congress is going to just ignore the Endangered Species Act, why does it exist in the first place. Why do we have an entire agency devoted to enforcing it? Get your crap together and either let the Agency do it's job or fix the law. You don't pass BS like this because it makes the entire law unenforcable.

This is the misunderstanding that has truly boggled me for many years now.  We have an Endangered Species Act for the same reason we had Jim Crow laws.  Some Congress somewhere passed such things and an executive signed them into law.  Law is not inviolate, incontrovertible, holy and apostolic.  It is law, until the judiciary finds it in violation of law/the Constitution or until some Congress somewhere changes the law.  I'm likely gonna take some heat for pointing out the blatantly obvious here (I certainly have before) but the groups who challenged the Federal control plan for wolves did so based on point of law.  Law is based on what is decided by legislatures.  They dared the legislature to change the law, and react (in my opinion) poorly when it actually happened.  Congress passed the ESA, and Congress can change it.

Which agency is directly responsible for enforcing the ESA?  Justice and it's FBI/Federal marshals?  Agriculture, and the USFS which has been granted law-enforcement powers, and has it's own cadre of biologists?  Or is it the Interior, which has Fish & Wildlife and the Federal Park Service?  The agency in question is actually Interior, and the 'enforcement' of which you write is to establish biological baseline whereby an animal can be removed from the protected status of the ESA.  The DOI did that, and desired to pass control of wolves to state authorities.  They were blocked by Wyoming's 'kill-em-all' plan.  So the DOI proposed a very rational solution, save that it might/will involve control through hunting.  They were sued to stop the hunts, not for scientific or biological reasons, but for legal enforcement reasons.  What has transpired since has been written for a very long time now.  If the law doesn't serve the will of the agency given the task of 'enforcing' that law, then you change the law.  That's what Tester (and others) did.

Now, wolves are not as easy to control as ungulates or solitary predators. Simple population regulation won't likely work.  They are high functioning social predators.  It could be argued that any management plan needs to account for that in control numbers.  But that isn't in the ESA, either.  The funny part is, that was a factor in the original agreement to release control of wolves to Montana and Idaho.  There was a bottom base for population numbers, and provision for study should the numbers decline beyond projection.  That went out the window with Molloy's injunction and ruling based on law.  Which would have been a better use for the Legal Defense Fund, challenging Congress to change the law or ... If the organizations in question had lobbied Congress to change the ESA given the science they care so much about, we might not be having this discussion.  I have no idea whether that would have worked or not, but I do know this.  Those who tell you that Congress shouldn't have the power to regulate wolves, already handed them the keys to make that very thing happen.  It would have been nice if the defenders of wolves had been able to make the case that this species has special needs regarding control factors.  They chose lawsuit instead, which sets an immediate binary opposition.  But, hey, I've been schooled that I'm just pulling this stuff out of my ass, so why listen to me?  Just because I've been correct for years now ...

Unlike most Montanans, I actually think that the wolves should be protected and managed.

This part, I really do not understand.  This whole battle has been about management, and the idea that management stands opposed to protection.  Even Steve Kelly points that out, though likely unwittingly.  Those are not opposed.

There has never been a DOCUMENTED case of a healthy wolf attacking a human in the US. PERIOD.

Completely beside the point, but you are incorrect.  It should also be mentioned that saying something hasn't happened is no assurance that it never will.

Wolves are a necessary part of the wild ecosystem here in Montana

I must, yet again, disagree.  They are not necessary.  Montana did well for 80 years without them.  But they are a beneficial part of our ecosystem.  They hold coyotes in check, contributing to the recovery of the beaver, which yada yada on down the line. I would point out, however, that many wolf mystique defenders love to talk about how wolves kill very few large animals and mostly feed on rodents.  You don't see any kind of contradiction there, do you?  And that is the point that infects too much of this discussion.  There are many who wish to trade the wolf myth (Big Bad Wolf!) for the wolf mystique, our furry friends and wild fuzzy puppy loves.  Neither of those illusions is worth a damn when discussing control of a predator.

No law passed by Congress should be above Judicial Review

The rider is above review based on what has already been reviewed, that some states have more ability or will to manage wolf populations than others.  To be honest, I expect this point to be the next to result in lawsuit ... since this is all about the science, of course.

You might want to read that again.


[ Parent ]
You are somewhat misrepresenting both my views and my comment (0.00 / 0)
I have never taken exception to specific riders as you well know. I disagree with the very idea of a rider on an unrelated bill - regardless of  whether that rider is one I agree with or not. Bills should be about what they are titled, not hiding a mishmash of special interest BS tacked on at the end because the author/authors couldn't get their idea/bills moving.

As far as protection/management - I believe they are one in the same. A species should be managed and protected (they are not exclusive). That protection should extend no more than is necessary under the law. While I am somewhat sympathetic to the wolves (can't help it, spent too much time at the Wolf Haven in Olympia), I also believe that we do need to find a balance for wolves without completely wiping them out.

Since I haven't done a great deal of study on Wolves after leaving Olympia, I was unaware of the two attacks (one in 2005, one in 2010). When I worked at Wolf Haven (2004), there had not been one.

I completely understand your statements about wolves being hard to manage - probably better than most. They are intellegent, social, and adaptable. It is far easier to manage bears and cats than it is wolves and I feel for the agencies trying to manage them (and yes, I did know it was Interior). What I don't beleive is that they should all be wiped off the face of the earth as you hear often here in Dillon.

Like you, I do not believe that this is over yet. We will see where it goes. It would be nice if this resulted in a decent management plan though.


[ Parent ]
Sorry, one other thing (0.00 / 0)
No law passed by Congress should be above Judicial Review. We have three branches of government for a reason and no legislation should be protected from the checks and balances of that system. Just as I have an issue with Presidencial over-reach, I have a similar issue with the idea that the Legislature can act without Judicial review. In my opinion, that, in itself, is unconstitutional.

The Tester treatment... (0.00 / 0)
The wolf delisting rider and Tester's logging bill both do an end run around the respective management agencies.  Neither have any meaningful mechanism for public input or debate. Both carve out precedent setting exceptions to the law that will have predictably bad consequences down the road.  Both have been attached as riders to unrelated bills.  Looks like there's a pattern developing here.

 


Barn Doors and sum such as like ... (0.00 / 0)
Matthew, exactly what do you think you will accomplish with your ACTION ALERT?

It's a done deal.  You called the tune, now pay the piper.  Move on.  Or not.  In case you haven't noticed, I really don't care anymore, nor has anyone offered any reason I should.


Hmmm... (0.00 / 0)
Since sending the ACTION ALERT (your emphasis) out (here and elsewhere) about two dozen people have contacted me saying they already called/emailed and let Tester know how they feel about his wolf rider. I'm pretty sure they aren't the only ones who took ACTION.

Funny, but if and when Tester ever does something great in the legislative arena should we not contact him to say "thank you?" Should people have not contacted the Gov after his veto branding event? I mean, it's a done deal...move on, right?

Are you saying we should only contact our elected officials when we agree with them? I hold to the novel idea that people should be free to contact their elected representatives whenever they damn well please...to say "boooo!" "thanks!" or whatever.


[ Parent ]
You still missed the point of the question, Matthew (0.00 / 0)
What do you hope to accomplish?  It's a simple question.  Don't assume what I'm "saying" which I've never said.  Just answer the question.

What do you hope to accomplish?


[ Parent ]
Yes sir (0.00 / 0)
So sorry sir...didn't mean to not answer your question sir. Forgive me sir. It won't happen again sir.

By sending out the action alert, sir, I had hoped Senator Tester would know that many of his core Montana constituents (as well as other Americans) were not in favor of his wolf rider and were opposed, sir, to his by-passing the provisions of the ESA via a rider.

I hope this answers your question to your satisfaction sir. Thank you sir.

P.S. Honestly Rob (sir) I can't believe you're doing this, sir. Tester passes a rider removing wolves from the ESA and you decide to make my action alert the issue. Just weird...sir.  


[ Parent ]
Liar (0.00 / 0)
Wolves have not been removed from the ESA.  Quit acting like it's some kind of holy writ.  And you'd best read my latest post, 'cause I'm seriously tired of your ass.

[ Parent ]
hmmm... (0.00 / 0)
http://missoulian.com/news/sta...

SNIP:

Federal wildlife officials say they will take more than 1,300 gray wolves in the Northern Rockies off the endangered species list within 60 days.

An attachment to the budget bill signed into law Friday by President Barack Obama strips protections from wolves in five Western states.

It marks the first time Congress has taken a species off the endangered list.


[ Parent ]
Farmer Jon morphed into Lumber Jak and now into Trapper Jon. (0.00 / 0)
Its just a question of time now until our forests will be as devoid of wolves as they will be of trees.  Using jobs as a stalking horse Montana has reversed its half century of progress away from colonial exploitation.
Soon the plains will be ringing with the sounds of axes and wolfers' rifles.
But with Japan about to implode; where will we be sending all the trees?

[ Parent ]
Really? (0.00 / 0)
I don't agree with the rider tactic either, but lets not forget that the courts had already ruled that Montana had a viable wolf plan w/o wolves being listed, so I doubt they will be eliminated once again.  Also, the other endangered species Matthew so shrilly warns us about are very different from gray wolves in one important regard - they are actually in danger of extinction.  

It is important to remember that gray wolves, while deserving respectful management, are not the same as black footed ferrets or desert tortoises, in that they are not in any immediate danger of extinction.  This debate, unlike many others within the ESA, is about the geographical distribution of a species, not its continued existence.  By conflating the two, Matthew does a disservice to accurate discussion of endangered species.  

And finally, Rob is right.  Look at the polls - this is populism in action, and if environmentalists wanted a different result they would have been better off compromising far earlier in the debate.  


[ Parent ]
You know what I'd love? (0.00 / 0)
I'd love to have everything about this issue be EXACTLY the same...EXCEPT remove the words "Senator Tester" and insert "Rep Rehberg."

Would Polish Wolf and Rob still be writing their defense of this action? Would MWA's Gabe Furshong post a defense on Facebook? Or would they instead be howling at Rehberg?  Hmmm....

Finally, Polish Wolf, it appears to me that you fail to understand how the ESA actually works and what this rider precedent actually could mean very shortly down the road. Honestly, what experience do you have with these issues?  Do those experiences qualify you to speak with authority on the ESA? Enlightened me.

Once some conservative congressperson from California inserts a rider to remove the desert tortoise from the ESA because of pressure from developers or solar and wind developers or landfill/trash companies maybe you'll see the light.

Once some southern GOPer attaches a rider to remove sea turtles from the ESA so some big casino/hotel/condo complex can be built on the gulf coast, maybe you'll change your tune. Remember, it was Sen Tester who opened up this door.

This is about our nation's bedrock environmental laws and safety nets for threatened and endangered species.

Again, if Rehberg would have pulled this stunt you'd be howling. That tells me that you folks care a little more about politics and protecting those Dems you perceive as "champions" than about the actual substance of the issue being debated. Thanks.


[ Parent ]
Your problem (0.00 / 0)
Matthew, you assume that either PW or myself are "defending" what happened.  We're just exposing.  This is what is, and we are about the reality based community.  You?  

You failed.  That would be "you", not us.  


[ Parent ]
You know what I'd love? (0.00 / 0)
I'd love to have everything about this issue be EXACTLY the same...EXCEPT remove the words "Senator Tester" and insert "Rep Rehberg."

Would Polish Wolf and Rob still be writing their defense of this action? Would MWA's Gabe Furshong post a defense on Facebook? Or would they instead be howling at Rehberg?  Hmmm....

Finally, Polish Wolf, it appears to me that you fail to understand how the ESA actually works and what this rider precedent actually could mean very shortly down the road. Honestly, what experience do you have with these issues?  Do those experiences qualify you to speak with authority on the ESA? Enlightened me.

Once some conservative congressperson from California inserts a rider to remove the desert tortoise from the ESA because of pressure from developers or solar and wind developers or landfill/trash companies maybe you'll see the light.

Once some southern GOPer attaches a rider to remove sea turtles from the ESA so some big casino/hotel/condo complex can be built on the gulf coast, maybe you'll change your tune. Remember, it was Sen Tester who opened up this door.

This is about our nation's bedrock environmental laws and safety nets for threatened and endangered species.

Again, if Rehberg would have pulled this stunt you'd be howling. That tells me that you folks care a little more about politics and protecting those Dems you perceive as "champions" than about the actual substance of the issue being debated. Thanks.


[ Parent ]
Was that howling a pun? (0.00 / 0)
"Again, if Rehberg would have pulled this stunt you'd be howling. That tells me that you folks care a little more about politics and protecting those Dems you perceive as "champions" than about the actual substance of the issue being debated. Thanks."

Actually, no.  If Rehberg did this, I wouldn't have howled.  On the other hand, if he had actually de-listed wolves, including in Wyoming where there is no reasonable management plan in place, I would have indeed cried foul.  As it is, I think Tester's action has effectively made this very real possibility a lot less likely.  

The fact is that gray wolves are not an endangered species; indeed, once they are delisted the ESA may well be stronger for limiting its focus to species that are actually in danger of extinction.  Finally, your Action Alert would have been more effective if the unqualifiedly pro-wolf faction had not already alienated the majority of voters in Montana, largely by not recognizing this fact.    


[ Parent ]
From your perspective the anti-wolf crowd calling the shots is what the Montana out-of-workers really want? (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
Idaho Gov Declares Wolves A 'Disaster Emergency' (0.00 / 0)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed a bill on Tuesday declaring the gray wolf a "disaster emergency" in his state, days after Congress voted to strip the animal of federal protections there and in Montana.

Despite enactment of federal legislation turning wolf control over to state wildlife management and allowing licensed hunting of the animals, Otter welcomed his new authority to bring law enforcement to bear against any wolf threats to humans or livestock.


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