Despite an earlier report in The Missoulian claiming that Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) was wrong, it now is clear that Rehberg was correct when he told a Missoula crowd that Idaho would not be enforcing federal protections for wolves.
Rehberg told a Safari Club International audience in Missoula he likes what he described as Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s plan to make Idaho a “sanctuary state” – where game wardens ignore the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, comparing it to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s declaration that his city is a sanctuary from federal immigration laws.
To The Missoulian’s defense, they did have quotes from two seperate press secretaries stating that they were not aware of any plans by Idaho to not enforce the federal protections. However, if there’s one thing I know about Congressman Rehberg- he is pretty good friends with Idaho Governor Butch Otter- so if he says that’s what Butch is planning, I’ve gotta go with the assumption that he got it straight from Otter’s mouth.
Here’s the updated news, according to the AP:
Idaho told the U.S. Department of Interior it will no longer manage wolves in the state under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter made the announcement Monday after talks between the state and federal government failed to result in an agreement.
Otter notified Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that his state will no longer will act as the federal government’s “designated agent.”
No response yet from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, nor Interior Dept. Secretary Ken Salazar. The federal government and the Obama Administration must certainly be finding themselves in an odd position: they are unwilling to enforce federal immigration laws in “sanctuarty cities” like San Francisco and elsewhere, and they are unwilling to enforce federal marijuana laws. If they now decide to crack down on states like Idaho and others so they can ensure the Endangered Species Act is enforced, it will no doubt appear like an inconsistent, discriminatory enforcement effort by the federal government.
Interestingly enough, Congressman Rehberg sent out this tweet Monday night:
Governor Schweitzer should follow Governor Otter’s lead and cease acting as the fed’s agent in wolf management http://tinyurl.com/24x3f4t
While The Missoulian’s Rob Chaney added this:
Montana has not indicated any intention to end its designated wolf agent agreement with the federal government. But state Fish, Wildlife and Parks commissioners have asked for the return of wolf hunts and supported both state and congressional efforts to change the wolf’s protected status.