Back Door Wilderness Blocked in Budget

Aaron Flint posted on April 12, 2011 22:58 :: 959 Views

Folks in Northcentral Montana, leery of a new back door monument designation, will be pleased to hear about one of the hidden riders in the Continuing Resolution which prevented the federal government shutdown.  

As Politico’s Morning Energy reports:

The CR would block Interior from enacting its “wildlands policy,” handing western Republicans a major victory in their ongoing struggle with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The wildlands policy would allow the Bureau of Land Management to put new conservation designations on federal land without additional legislation from Congress.

Republican congressmen including Utah’s Rob Bishop and Washington’s Doc Hastings have been on the warpath since Salazar put the policy in place in December, arguing that Interior was sidestepping Congress – the lone branch of government with the power to create “wilderness” designations – to lock down public lands from energy development. 

Another rider that would take wolves off the endangered species list in Montana and Idaho has gained a lot of national attention.  Even though Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), the Chairman of the powerful US Senate Finance Committee, continues to send press releases touting “his” wolf proposal, the media is quoting fellow Democratic Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) for the move. 

And apparently the rider will hold, at least if you listen to the Executive Director of Western Watersheds.  The liberal news website had this:

Last month, Jon Marvel, executive director of Western Watersheds, said the settlement had no teeth for enforcement and is filled with vague promises and assurances.

“If Congress passes a wolf rider, it will not be worse than the proposed settlement – just equally bad,” said Marvel. He speculated that the anti-wolf rider could be stopped in Congress, but admitted it was unlikely.

“We have deeply cynical Democrats who are desperate to help Tester in 2012,” said Marvel – desperate enough to sacrifice the integrity of the Endangered Species Act.

Meanwhile, a pro-wolf outlet, “The Center for Biological Diversity” calls Tester’s latest hawkish moves on wolves pure politics:

One of the most vulnerable Democratic senators in the upcoming 2012 elections, Tester is running three points behind Republican Denny Rehberg, a strident opponent of wolf recovery. Tester is pushing to eliminate federal wolf protection to boost his sagging poll numbers.

“With Democrats like Tester, who needs Republicans?” asked Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Jon Tester’s job creation agenda is concerned with only one job — his own. With the help of the White House and Senate leader Harry Reid, he has sacrificed wolves and the Endangered Species Act to cynical, self-interested politics.”

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