Utah Senate Bill calls for removal of all wolves that may enter the state.
It appears that some Utah legislators are reactionary too.
One line of the bill states that “[t]he division shall capture or kill any wolf it discovers in the state, except for a wolf lawfully held in captivity.”
At the bottom of the bill is the Legislative Review, which is written by the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, which states “This bill has a high probability of being held to be unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause to the United States Constitution because federal law and regulations prohibit conduct allowed by this bill.”
Read it here: S.B. 36
Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.
67 Responses to Utah Senate Bill calls for removal of all wolves that may enter the state.
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Angry, uneducated and frightened people.
What I would give to see the Uintas wild and free…. So much potential…. I don’t believe it will ever happen.
It is partly symbolic posturing, except in Northern Utah where in fact there is no wolf plan of the state’s in place.
Northern Utah, where wolves have, and are likely to migrate, was deliberately delisted along with Idaho and Montana by USFWS.
I can’t help but think that it was precisely to make sure the wolves did not migrate into legally safe territory.
If the wolf is relisted and if I have any influence, redrawing the DPS will be a top priority.
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Note: I have been informed that Utah has a Utah Wolf Management Plan adopted by the Utah Wildlife Board and the State Legislature in 2005. I don’t know what it says.
Ralph, you can find the plan here-
Not to surprising, cattle is the number one way of life there, at least that is what it seem’s to me when I travel through. Any risk to their cattle would not be allowed. Gotta just face it in our world today, man will not allow predators to live and be as they should. so sad…..
This political posturing only supports our assertion that human attitudes and the lack of adequate regulatory mechanisms threaten wolves in the NRM DPS.
With wolves delisted, authority for management belongs with the states; there is NO federal protection. Northern Utah, as Ralph noted, is included as part of the NRM DPS. This legislation would effectively prevent wolves from occupying this portion of the DPS. Of course, Idaho’s aggressive management of wolves in the southern 1/3 of the state already provides a barrier to natural recolonization.
These people are simply incapable of self-government.
Ralph, I have a question I’m not too sure about. When wolves get delisted in some state and that state takes over management of wolves, if they really wanted to, can they wipe out all of the wolves in their state?
Well this dredges up bad memories….funny we were out on a run this morning heading up Mill Creek canyon (a beautiful city canyon that is awash in deer, moose, elk, lions and coyotes…a few wolves living between Park City and Salt Lake city would be a nice touch) and we were commenting how Utah loves to waste money on lawsuits (apparently Emery County and the state have bled enough cash to in fighting a stupid roads lawsuit)( http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_14169959 ). This would be just another stupid misuse of public funds.
I was on the Central RAC when the wolf plan went through. In our district, I think the vote was 7 for and 2 against (me being one) for the plan linked above. Although DWR likes to say they have a “management plan” basically all a sheep or cattle rancher or member of SFW would have to say is “boo” and the DWR would use lethal force on the wolves.
This kind of bill is the stupid grandstanding that legislators like to do this time of year regardless if it is on abortion, taxes or wolves. The silly season starts in Utah in a couple of weeks.
Two bills, by the way, that are worth supporting in Utah this year are to open stream access similar to that which is already in law in Montana and Idaho (at this time Utah has stream access only by a Utah Supreme court ruling) and a bicycle bill to allow them to treat stop signs as yield signs, again copying a bill almost word for word that Idaho has.
It is kinda scary that Utah is using Idaho as a role model for our legislation…..
If a state is not in an ESA wolf DPS, Distinct Population Segment, and they have no state protection, yes they could kill all the wolves.
Wyoming wanted to do that except in about 13 per cent of the centered around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks plus the U.S. Forest Service Land adjacent to the these Parks in NW Wyoming. That is why the first wolf delisting was overturned. They were delisted and promptly a lot of wolves outside this big zoo were killed.
It appears the state of Utah is not interested in becoming part of a federally imposed science experiment.
No, it appears Utah is engaged in a typical Western temper tantrum.
Robert – is this typical behavior for you when people do not agree with you? Accusing people and or legislative bodies of being “incapable of self government” as they proceed in a manner they see fit in accordance to avenues available to them.
They are proceeding in a manner which is obviously illegal and they know it. Their own Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel tells them as much. Sure they can pass a ridiculous law like this but they are wasting their time and money because I guarantee you that it will go to court and they will lose.
It’s childish, that’s why Robert calls it a Western temper tantrum.
And these are expensive tantrums.
Over the years states like Utah and Idaho have spent an enormous amount of money on such stupid lawsuits. They know going in that they cannot control wolves, they cannot control cable television, they cannot control roads on Federal lands, but yet they try and try and try. And they pour state money into lawyers pockets that could be much better spent.
I might prefer the word “grandstanding” ’cause they do it to show off and get points from the ultra-right that run this state. But, hell, tantrum sounds fine as well.
Ken – making a guarantee regarding a legal or political issue is less than advisable in my opinion.
Another state joins the ranks of “Angry, uneducated and frightened people.”
Funny — all of the states in that category seem to have one thing in common — wolves, brought to them by the largess of the federal government.
I find it interesting with all of the wolf support that is talked about on this website as well as other blogs, that this is now the 4th state to try an insert language of this nature in their laws.
Its almost as if the pot on the stove is starting to boil over.
The western states are oligarchies masquerading as republics, trying to hang on to a 19th century ideology that didn’t work even in the 19th century. They make no pretense of representing all citizens or of pursuing the public interest. If my objecting to these facts is a problem for you, or my account of these actions as childish offends you, I proffer my deepest apologies for speaking the truth. The truth is a hard burden to bear. Try it some time.
Robert – please insert “The Wahsington D.C. political class” for western states. The truth is a hard burden to bear – and we are all bearing it, including you. BTW – your opinion does not bother me – you are welcome to have one. Just seemed out of character for you – to stay away from legal issues and simply attack others.
Just maybe, the State of Utah is exercising it rights under the 10th admendment
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
I see no where in the US constitution where a state has to have wolves.
What’s curious to me is that the pot only seems to boil in the West? I guess that supports Robert’s assertion that the political powers in the West are throwing a “tantrum”.
When I moved from Utah to Minnesota I joked that I was moving from a state with zero wolves and a “wolf problem” to a state with 3,000 wolves and no problem. Five years later nothing has changed. Utah still doesn’t have any wolves but the political elites can’t but help publicly flexing their muscles on behalf of the well-connected (i.e. livestock industry and SFW-type hunters).
My biggest concern is if they continue and form a coalition of states, it could and would continue to draw this process out, costing all of us a lot of money, time as well as possibly changing things that have been successful in the past, not just concerning wolves.
This is one area, I wish my predictions were wrong, but I have a feeling a breaking point is coming and I, in a way fear what the results will be.
And I agree with Elk as well, there is a grassroots level situation happening with the assertion of the 10th ongoing in many states around the country, not just limited to the west, I see a big change coming in the way the country as a whole will be governed in the future…
What is the status of wolf protection in Colorado? I believe in the northern part of the state they would be protected by the ESA?
Also, Ralph, your answer to Jon indicates that it would be legal for Utah to take this action and kill all wolves? Because they were removed from protection in northern Utah along with MT and ID, but they have to keep some sort of protections in palce due to be being part of a DPS, correct?
Please, save us the constitutional rhetoric crap. This is small ass politician that is rearing up on his hind legs and braying at the moon. There is no content here, just a pandering politician trying to please some loudmouth in his district.
++When I moved from Utah to Minnesota I joked that I was moving from a state with zero wolves and a “wolf problem” to a state with 3,000 wolves and no problem. ++
haha that’s a good one!
Were we to fully apply the 10th amendment of the US Constitution, we’d also see the public trust, an inherent right of and burden on state sovereignty for the protection and conservation of all natural resources for all citizens of the state, also applied to the conservation of wolves. But we don’t, do we?
Let’s use the civil rights analogy. The southern states, as sovereign states, were duty bound to protect the constitutional, civil rights of African Americans, but refused to do so, and oppressed them politically and economically, using the states rights argument–a 10th amendment argument, mind you–to do so. Segregation was a great evil. (I grew up with it; I know). It took the imposition of federal power to force the southern states to exercise their sovereign duties regarding the civil rights of African Americans.
The Endangered Species Act is no different. When a state fails and refuses to exercise its duties under the public trust, the imposition of federal power became necessary to restore wolves to the West. And it’s still necessary, as we see with Wyoming’s dual status law and now this truly stupid bill in Utah.
If the Western states truly exercised their sovereign rights and duties regarding wildlife as a public trust, the federal government would hardly be necessary. So I stand with what I said above. These people truly aren’t capable of self government, something that requires wisdom and self-restraint.
Elk – I appreciate you bringing to the attention of this group that whole pesky “states rights” or “peoples rights” issue. Unfortunately, many here only want a larger and more powerful federal government – hard to imagine but true.
“If a state is not in an ESA wolf DPS, Distinct Population Segment, and they have no state protection, yes they could kill all the wolves.”
Ralph: Actually, there is some confusion regarding the status of wolves outside of federally-designated DPSs. My understanding is even if Molloy upholds the recent delisting of the NRM population, wolves outside of the DPS boundaries would still have endangered status (since wolves were originally listed in the conterminous U.S.). I believe Utah’s office of General Counsel concurs:
“This bill provides for the killing or capture and transfer of a wolf found anywhere in Utah. While the wolf is not listed as an endangered species for the northeastern portion of the state, it remains listed as an endangered species for the majority of the state. It is highly likely that a court, faced with determining the constitutionality of this bill, would find that it violates the Supremacy Clause by authorizing acts prohibited by federal law in those areas of the state where wolves remain listed as an endangered species.”
If wolves were delisted throughout Utah, which is unlikely given that southern Utah is adjacent to the reintroduced Mexican wolf population, then ELK275’s logic would hold; that is, there would be no federal law protecting wolves and the state would have the legal authority to do what it wants with this species. However, while their removal policy might be legal within the NRM DPS, the law explicitly states: “it is the policy of the state that the wolf shall be destroyed or removed from the state.” Given that removal of wolves in the southern portion of the state conflicts with the ESA, the law is unconstitutional.
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As a side note, the law is called the “Wolf Management Act”. Someone should tell western legislators to stop using the word “management” as a synonym for “eradication”, as it seriously undermines the efforts of F&G representatives to sell the idea that their “management” plans for wolves are sustainable. 😉
I think JB is largely right here legally, but my interest is drawn to bringing the public trust in natural resources back as an inherent aspect of state sovereign power to accomplish conservation goals independently of the federal government. Then the 10th Amendment would actually mean something, rather than merely serve as a legal cover for a state’s “right” to do stupid and immoral things like eradicating wolves.
Thanks for the analysis.
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And you wrote: “As a side note, the law is called the “Wolf Management Act”. Someone should tell western legislators to stop using the word “management” as a synonym for “eradication”, as it seriously undermines the efforts of F&G representatives to sell the idea that their “management” plans for wolves are sustainable”. 😉
This is one reason why Mark Gamblin has trouble making headway in this forum.
I didn’t say I agree with what is going on, I am just stating what I have seen going on with a wide variety of issues in the country right now.
As far as it being rhetoric, some may say it is, but if we just look at gun issue, you will find several states have passed laws to assert their 10th against the Federal government and they were specifically passed in order to force the issue to the Supreme Court..
Ohio, Tenn. and Montana have specifically passed laws to say, if a gun in made in that state and sold in that state for use in that state, then they will not require Federal background checks..of course ATF is challenging, but that is what the states wanted.
As I said, I see a day, when things around the country will be a lot different..
Thanks, Robert. I agree with you regarding the public trust doctrine. If you support the notion that the state acts as a trustee, managing wildlife on behalf of ALL of its citizens, then states have a legal obligation to manage species in a sustainable manner, not eradicate them on behalf of the well-connected.
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Ralph: You’re quite welcome!
It would be interesting to pursue public trust challenges to state natural resource perfidy in the federal courts on 10th amendment grounds. States love to talk about their reserved rights, but say nothing about their reserved duties. To have the Supremes require the states to exercise their public trust duties, obviously reserved to the states under the 10th amendment of the US Constitution, would be most amusing.
Wow!! Forward, progressive thinking coming from Utah!!! Or is this bill 100 years old—-I can’t tell…..
Senator Christensen represents Morgan, Summit and Weber counties. One of major corridors wolves have and will take entering Utah is through the land owned by the LDS church as Deseret Land and Livestock, part of which is in his senate district.
This land is used for grazing, for maintaining stocked trophy fish ponds, and, its main money crop, hunting trips for its trophy elk and deer. This land is managed like a big sterile game park; shoot and shovel for predators has long been rumored as the modus operandi. This is the most significant piece of private land in the state that would lose money with wolves eating the trophy stock.
I have to agree that passing laws like this seems like the act of angry, uneducated, and frightened people.
Robert, JB –
I agree with you on the importance of the Public Trust Doctrine to wildlife conservation issues. I’m very interested in your expanded views of how the states can/should better uphold their Public Trust responsibilities.
Robert: I like your sense of irony!
– – – –
Mark: More than 20 years ago Fred Wagner (1989) argued that the central purpose of wildlife management was: “to satisfy social values.” The problem, as Wagner articulated it, was that while “social values ha[d] changed profoundly” wildlife management was still dominated by “consumptive uses and attitudes about controlling wildlife”. He further argued that, “we are still justifiably stereotyped as predominantly oriented to consumptive uses and control of wildife…we should have been more oriented to non-consumptive values.”
Wagner’s words are as true today as they were 20+ years ago. We are still fixed in a patter of administration and management that puts consumptive uses before all others. I have (and always will) support hunting as both a tool for wildlife management and a valued product that comes out of management. However, the time has come for wildlife managers to recognize and manage for other types of values. Taking the public trust seriously means looking beyond the interests of the 5-20% of people that hunt.; it means wildlife commissions/boards that are at least somewhat representative of the general public; and it means forcing non-consumptive users to pay for their share of the benefits.
Wagner, F. H. (1989). American Wildlife Management at the Crossroads. Wildlife Society Bulletin (17)3:354-360.
Apparently there has been some consultation with Idaho as to what a states official position should be
great comment JB
Welcome back to living in the Western 1800’s , scary and sad .
Frankly, this seems ill advised, and obviously a waste of time.
It is a gross misuse of time and money to introduce such legislature, because any dumbarrrs knows this is a huge legal bill waiting to happen!
Would it not be more wise to just be realistic with the prospect of wolves?
Then again, Utah does many things a bit differently. It is a state stuck in a very foggy past.
To say that states should be allowed to do what they want with anything crossing into it’s borders is asking for some intense trouble. We should be prepared for the fact that opening one legal can of worms creates openings to a whole bunch of worm holes in everything we know…civil rights, personal rights.
For anyone who doesn’t live in areas where a large portion of grazing is done on public lands (which are not all ‘state ‘lands), wolves are less threatening and less complex an issue.
I say let wolves be on public lands, and keep grazing off of public land. Then, if there are wolves, and they eat a cow…they will have crossed a clear line of property. At which point it will be more accepted to exterminate them.
It never ceases to amaze me that people argue “states have this right, because the wolves are in this state”. Anyone with small amounts of intellect could easily see that you cannot start seperating states out, one by one, or placing state rights above federal. Frankly, most states who would like to govern wolves without federal interference rely heavily on federal money.
We have posted those stats here before, and they have come from federal and state resources.
If states start saying “we can do what we want”, then federal funds should cease to exist in them. How long would it take until any person needing medicaid/medicare or every small business needing a guaranteed loan to start up, or every college getting grants, or student getting financial aid , or new home buyer needing a stimulus payment all stopped getting help , having been denied because there were no federal funds for that state? Then how long would it be before all of those people decided ranchers and hunters were no longer worthy of their voting support????Not long.
So, wolves remain as much a federal issue as ever. Just as chronic wasting desease is, and poverty is, and unemployment, and healthcare..You cannot reasonably pick and choose which state’s actions are “for the good of the people” unless you are willing to give up all federal support in the process. Because frankly, if you want to reject my personal opinion and rights based on what state I live in, certainly you can’t expect me to contribute my tax dollars to a state that doesn’t give a sh*# about my opinion.
Wolves, the environment, and all that goes with it, are a federal as well as state issue. And for anything to progress, people need to stop pulling b.s. arguements and ignorant legilsation out of their butts,,, and find realistic solutions that pass scientific standards by both state and federal guidelines.
Imagine a state like Idaho practicing exclusive “states rights” without any intervention from the feds and courts to protect the land. The extraction and ranching indutries would have it turned into a wasteland long ago.
Interesting to see this crowd squalling about frivolous and ridiculous lawsuits. Much of the “enviromental movement” is based on wasteful, grinding legal action. Not sure when the last timber sale here in MT – no matter how small – on public lands has not gone to litigation. Maybe the good of this will be that some lawyers that visit this site will pay a few bills based on the ignorance and stupidity of the Utah legislators – bet there are few lawyers in that bunch too.
Timz – what makes you think the Feds are protectors of the land – have you heard of what is going on in the Frank?
The feds are the reason there is a a Frank.
And it’s not a clear cut forest full of mines.
So that allows them to go back on their word to keep it a “wilderness”?
That’s the current Interior Dept and the “hope and change administration” that some here are so proud of. Or it’s just the decision of one bureaucrat that is not likely to stand IMHO. I’ve lived here 15 years and so far I’ve seen this state elect the likes of Bill Sali, Helen Chenowith, Dirk Kempthore, Butch Otter, Wide-Stance Larry, Jim Risch, Mike Simpson, Crapo, etc. That doesn’t began to talk about the local level with the likes of Leonore Barrett. Hardly a who’s who amongst conservationists. Yes, let”s leave the protection of Idaho lands exclusively to Idaho.
Timz – point taken, however let us learn from the hope and changers – no one (or very few) from the duly elected President on down are looking out for OUR best interest.
We can certainly agree on that.
Welcome back to living in the Western 1800’s , scary and sad.
Dawn, it’s amazing how so many people in the West are living in the 1800s. It’s like the 20th century never happened.
I am a newbie on this site, my spelling and grammar “sukk” I’ll blame it on a a wonderful assistant for the last 20 yrs. I am suddenly a minority, huge learning curve, win loose or draw, as long as it’s about “HONEST” passion , I respect that, we may not agree, but at the end of the day, HONESTY, scary. OMG, got that from my step daughter. Think about some middle ground, honest hunters and honest environmentalist’s without another agenda, or motive?
“Think about some middle ground, honest hunters and honest environmentalist’s without another agenda, or motive?”
Due to the extremes on bothsides, distrust is the best we’ll see at this point. It seems in this age of “tolerance and enlightenment” it only comes if one conforms to the agenda of the “enlightened” folk. If you dont fit that agenda, your most likely a child molesting, mass murder potential, having psychopathic tendancies as said by many on here. Its okay to advocate cougars killing snowmobilers, wildlife attacks.
“If you dont fit that agenda, your most likely a child molesting, mass murder potential, having psychopathic tendancies as said by many on here. Its okay to advocate cougars killing snowmobilers, wildlife attacks.”
Also, there’s no shortage of hyperbole! 😉
JB, sometimes I think I can feel my skin getting thicker. Then zap a comment or issue hits me right in a thin spot.
Are you really going to say that with a straight face?
Really, recently Mikarooni was gleeful over a cougar attack on a snowmobiler as well as an avalache death. Every single trapper/hunt contest/wolf season thead is full of insinuations that include all of the things mentioned in my above post. Don’t see too much hypoerbole, maybe some polarization and sterotyping based on the comments by some of the more vocal posters.
Si’vet: I know what you mean. This form of communication doesn’t exactly lend itself to thoughtful, civil, well-reasoned communication. Way too easy to post something sarcastic and flippant when the mood strikes you. And even when you’re just trying to poke fun it often gets interpreted as mean-spirited. Oh well, it’ll make the BBQ at Ralph’s place all that much more interesting! 😉
If you dont fit that agenda, your most likely a child molesting, mass murder potential, having psychopathic tendancies as said by many on here. Its okay to advocate cougars killing snowmobilers, wildlife attacks.
Ryan, are we exaggerating just a little? I don’t recall people ever saying that unenlightened people fit this category. I think that most of us who consider ourselves enlightened (at least with the science aspect) would not be accusing anyone who disagrees with us of fitting that description. I think crackpot might be the worst word I’ve used.
Sorry, Ryan. In all honesty I must have missed those comments. I know you take a lot of flak around here and appreciate your willingness to keep posting.
No worries, I’m pretty thicked skinned. I enjoy a good debate, when it gomes to comments about people with no control in their life, mental degenerates, etc by people “running their mouth” for lack of better terms.
i think the majority of utah’s population (salt lake metro area) would not support such a bill. hopefully the media would jump all over it. yet utah’s lawmakers never cease to amaze me… ie (wine coolers outlawed, yet helmets on motorcylces not required) who are these people? who voted for these people???
What is interesting is who is bankrolling this misguided mission: our old friends at Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. These guys are not sportsmen, they don’t give a shit about fish, and they don’t want wildlife to be wild. They want the animals to be tame so they can sneak up on them riding their ATV’s and put a bullet in their lungs.
Hearing about this irritates me. Wolves are naturally afraid of humans. Christensen claims he is doing this because they are man killers and live stock killers. I will concede the live stock remark, but there has oy been one recorded human death in almost 100 years. It was there fault too, in the fact that they had been feeding the wolves and leaving trash out. He also says he wants to portect wildlife. He admitted wolves are wildlife. Isn’t that contradictory? He just wants to be able to say that he killed so many wolves. We shouldn’t have to go to the zoo to see those incredible creatures. Besides, predators are an integral part of any eco-system. Without predators, the prey winds up becoming too populous and destroying their habitat. That’s all Christiansen wants, is to be able to walk out his front door and shoot a moose, elk or deer. I hate people who say “I love and want to protect wildlife.” I will admit that I have been hunting before, and thoroughly enjoyed it, I believe, however, that hunting should be limited to hunter and prey. What I mean is if you can eat it and do eat I, fine. Don’t just kill things to kill things. That’s flat out murder. If anyone knows how I can contribute to the conservation of the wolves, let me know please.