Mead skeptical about wolf deal
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
March 19, 2011
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and ten of the 14 plaintiffs in a lawsuit over wolf management announced a proposed settlement Friday, March 18, 2011. Their suit is in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and involves the decision made by U.S District Judge Donald Molloy of Montana.
"I am extremely skeptical about the chances that this proposal will lead to an acceptable solution for Wyoming," Governor Matt Mead said today. "I will continue a dialogue with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because I think it is urgent that wolf management is put in Wyoming’s hands. I am not holding my breath that this announcement gets us closer to that goal."
The proposed settlement is to take wolves off of the Endangered Species List in Montana and Idaho, but it keeps them under federal control in Wyoming. It could give management to Wyoming if the state and federal government can agree on a management plan.
One hurdle for this settlement proposal is that Judge Molloy has to sign off on it. Another is that not all of the plaintiffs have agreed to it. Yet another is that it affects the State of Wyoming without its participation.
Since taking office Governor Mead has continually said he is looking for a solution that will give Wyoming permanent state control over wolves. He has also said settling the lawsuit in Montana is precarious. Governor Mead explained that it would be difficult if not impossible to get all of the environmental groups involved in that lawsuit to agree to a wolf management plan for the region and country. One of the groups, the Western Watersheds Project, has already publicly acknowledged its refusal to enter the proposed settlement and said in the media that it will object to the plan.