Government denies protected status for wolverines in mainland U.S. By John Cramer of the Missoulian.

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. . . “Enviros are most worried that the Bushies now appear to be saying they don’t have to protect animals inside U.S. borders if lots of them are living in Canada or Mexico. Defenders of Wildlife called the administration’s move ‘a stunning interpretation of their responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act.’ Defenders’ Jamie Rappaport Clark, who used to run the agency that made the decision, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, had this to say:

This sets a new low in a long line of irresponsible, disturbing decisions made of late by the Bush administration. The Endangered Species Act was designed to protect and preserve imperiled wildlife populations — not so that we can pass our responsibilities off onto our border neighbors, who may not have the resources or protections that we have here.

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This interpretation of the ESA has been firmed rejected in the past (as with gray wolves), but this old rejected argument has become the new Bush Administration party line, guaranteeing that every ESA listing will have to be litigated.

Fortunately these people will be gone in 9 months.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

20 Responses to Government denies protected status for wolverines in mainland U.S.

  1. avatar TPageCO says:

    Speaking of wolverines…there’s a recent article out there on a wolverine photo taken by remote sensing camera in the central California Sierra Mountains in the last couple weeks. Apparently the researcher was looking for fishers/martens I think, but I can’t exactly remember. Haven’t seen any opinions on whether it was a hoax or not, but it seems legit on the face of it. First documented wolverine in many years there supposedly.

  2. Someone posted it to one of the threads

  3. avatar Catbestland says:

    Colorado is considering wolverine reintroduction. Would this decision have a negative effect on the states intention to go forward or does each state have the right to list the species as endangered within it’s boundaries? As far as I am concerned the Bush legacy is one of complete reversal of any advancements made in environmental/ecological science to date. Bush has declared war on science.

  4. avatar Jon Way says:

    I can’t believe that Bush et al. isn’t in jail. Or are people waiting for him to leave office so he can’t pardon people, including himself, after he leaves. There is a mt. of info to impeach him yet we talk about a governor (in NY) that had inappropriate relations and that he needs to be impeached.

  5. avatar JB says:

    Ralph,

    I haven’t read the Rule in the Federal Register yet, but I would guess that the Solicitor’s new interpretation of “range” (as only applying to the areas where a species currently resides) has reared its ugly head.

    I’m not sure if I can take 9 more months of this.

  6. avatar jerry b says:

    This gives Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks the green light to continue to have a trapping season on wolverines. Montana is the only state in the lower 48 that allows trappers to kill these rare animals.

  7. avatar SmokyMtMan says:

    Has Bush declared war on science? Bush is the frontman for big business, and big business definitely has. As our economy increases, and as our population increases, the U.S. requires more and more natural resources to fuel both.

    There has always been a bitter struggle over resources, but as the demands have risen exponentially for these resources, so has the battle grown sharper, more divisive, and the tactics employed have grown more ruthless.

    And if you think it’s reached a critical point yet, wait another decade or two when our economy and population has increased substantially from where they are now.

    I will paraphrase: “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” Truthfully, in 30-40 years from now you won’t recognize this country. It will be virtually empty of the natural resources and wildlands we possess today.

    This has occurred throughout history in many regions and countries, and now it is the U.S.’s turn.

  8. avatar Dave Smith says:

    montana, wolverines, grizzlies

    After grizzlies were listed as a threatened species in 1975, Montana continuted to have a legal hunting season on griz (25 a year) for several years until them nasty enviro-whacko groups filed a lawsuit and forced the Montana Dept of FWP to see the light. So I’m not surprised Montana still has a trapping season on wolverines.

  9. avatar Catbestland says:

    I have heard reports that McCain is considering Alaska governor Sarah Palin as a running mate. Can you imagine what would happen to endangered species (especially wolves) if those two were elected??? The thought is too scary to comtemplate.

  10. avatar kim kaiser says:

    she would be a hard choice to campaigh hard as she has announced she has another kid to complete her litter of genetic debris,,,

  11. avatar Dave Smith says:

    McCain + Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin–her husband is a bubblehead who rides in a snowmobile race known as the Iron Dog. That’s bubbleheads running the same route as the Iditarod. I believe Palin’s husband is in the ORV business. As VP, I doubt Palin would do anything about the problem of !@$!!^$ illegal ORV “user created trails” on our National Forest Service land. I wish the Forest Service would drop “user created trails,” and put the focus on the important issue–ILLEGAL.

  12. avatar vicki says:

    Vote democrat, vote, vote, vote!!! But even if we get a dem, what will change? How do we know the next adminstration will be any better? How can we effect that?

  13. avatar Maska says:

    Vicki,

    The only way to make sure that a new Administration and Congress, of whatever composition, improve on the miserable conservation record of the current ones is, to quote the old adage, to keep up “endless pressure, endlessly applied.”

    Personally, I think the time to start is right now. Pick out a couple of candidates for national office (Senate or House of Representatives), or state or local office (Governor, state senators and representatives, county commissioners, etc.) and become active in their campaigns. Throwing a few bucks into a race, along with helping out by working in a campaign office, going door-to-door, and similar actions, can do amazing things in terms of promoting the causes you support, including public lands, wildlife, and so on.

    Of course you have to start with a candidate who is at least somewhat inclined in the direction you hope things will go. You can’t make something out of nothing. But especially in smaller (in population) Western states, it’s amazing how much access you can get if you get active.

    Once you get them safely elected, then keep up the pressure through calls, faxes, letters, visits to their local offices. Corner them at local fundraising events. Keep on keeping on. The world is run by those who show up. (Or it is when you’ve helped elect some folks who aren’t totally owned by big oil, big lumber, big ag, and the like.)

  14. avatar vicki says:

    Thanks so much for the advice. I will look into it.

  15. avatar jimbob says:

    Smokymtnman, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Plus, I think even the Democrats have been seduced by big business money. It’s just not as rampant as it is in the Republican party. I used to be a Republican, but now see it as the party of greed and power. I think the Dems just want what the Republicans have, so it may not get better. This wolverine decision is another crime against common sense, science, and nature!

  16. avatar SmokyMtMan says:

    jimbob,

    The problems are inherent in our political system. It is virtually impossible to get elected without raising large sums of money. These large sums are not given out randomly. The politician that raises the most money wins 99% of the time.

    So, how do you raise the most money? We all know whose door they go knocking on for their millions and millions of dollars. Business interests represent huge numbers of workers and economic output. This combined with huge sums of money get them the legislation they wish for.

    That’s why most laws aren’t written for animals. Animals don’t usually provide much of the financial resources the politicians require for their galas, ballroom parties, vacation homes, expense accounts, and re-election committees. Money is the oil of Washington D.C.

    Don’t kid yourself, either. This isn’t a new phenomenon; it has been like that since the beginning. Sure, it’s worse now, but then again I bet the politicians of 1800 would have sold their souls for our 2008 economy.

    Sometimes I wonder if that is what we have paid for it.

  17. avatar JB says:

    The three relevant paragraphs from FWS’s petition denial:

    “We found that the contiguous U.S. wolverine population does not meaningfully contribute to resiliency because the habitats necessary for breeding, feeding, migration, dispersal, or wintering are found distributed throughout its range and are not solely found in the contiguous United States. Therefore, we conclude that the contiguous U.S. wolverine population does not contribute meaningfully to the resiliency of G. g. luscus. (p. 12940)

    Finally, a small proportion of the total wolverine population occurs in the contiguous United States. Assuming 8,333 wolverine occur in Alaska (as described in the control of exploitation section above), 15,089 wolverine occur in Canada, and 500 wolverine occur in the contiguous
    United States, the contiguous United States portion accounts for only 2 percent of the entire G. g. luscus population. Thus, we determined that the contiguous U.S. wolverine population does not significantly contribute to the redundancy of G. g. luscus. (p. 12941)

    Based on the discussion above, we determined that the contiguous United States portion of the current range of the North American wolverine is not significant to the Gulo gulo luscus subspecies, and therefore does not warrant further consideration to determine if it is a significant portion of the range that is threatened or endangered. In addition, we find that historical habitat in the contiguous United States that is no longer occupied would not raise the status of this portion of the range as being significant to the subspecies. (p. 12941)”

    This is exactly the logic they used in the case of the Canada lynx: because wolverines are “naturally” rare in the U.S., the U.S. portion of their range is not significant, and therefore wolverines/lynx are non entitled to ESA protections. Well that’s convenient logic for an administration that vehemently opposes listing endangered species! The underlying message: as long as a species is not in danger of going extinct in all of its range then it is not in danger of extinction in a significant portion of its range.

  18. avatar kim kaiser says:

    you may not like bush and their policy, but one thing you can know for sure,, you will always know what his policy is and how to deal and combat it,, but when you get this new set of yahoos in here, if a change to dem is on the executive level, you REALLY dont know what and who and how your battles will progress adn who they are with and how much actual help you will get. They talk the big talk, but when the check is in the mail,, they go where the money is, and then you dont know who you can count on for help,, isnt the washington state gov a dem,, and she pushes for cattle expansions,, if i remember a thread here a while back regarding cattle on public land in washington,, and the congressman in colorado that supports poison, because he to is a shepard and he is a democrat….swieiter in MT is a dem and has turned his back on bison after a lot of big mouth stuff, (it was discussed here a while back on previous threads) and then backed down,

    point is, be careful what you ask for ,, you just might get it, ,and you may not get a courtesy of a reach around when they put it to your efforts,, at least in the current admin.. you know the line and how to make the battle.

  19. avatar Concerned says:

    Here in Montana, the Dept of Livestock needs to be restructured or have the all overbearing power they currently have taken out of their hands..I know the Governor personally, as he used to live about 5 miles from me, and believe me, he is in fact trying to figure out a solution to the Bison issue, I doubt based on the amount of Livestock proponents we currently have in our legislature that he will be able to accomplish much, even if he is elected to second term…he has to change 150 years of thinking and dominance over the land by a few select groups, before we can see positive change for the better..But I can tell you, from my perspective, Brian, has not given up…and I am not a democrat, but I did vote for him..

  20. avatar JEFF E says:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23764861/
    Some mainstream news orgs are reporting the truth.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

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