Huffing and Puffing: The wolf’s strange journey on and off the endangered species list

A good blog on the delisting, relisting, and delisting of the wolf in the Northern  Rockies-

Huffing and Puffing. By Kevin Taylor. The Pacific Northwest Inlander.

Among other things, I like the discussion of the snail darter from back in the 1970s when Congress decided to build a real white elephant of a dam and doom this tiny fish.* Congress has interfered with the ESA before. People should remember that.


* The snail darter inhabited only the area to be flooded by the Tellico Dam. If it was built, the darter was extinct (or so it was thought . . . more were found later elsewhere). This was the first time the cabinet level Endangered Species Committee or “God squad” was used. The God Squad, however, looked at the matter and decided the Tellico Dam was such a piece of rancid congressional pork that the country would be better off economically, not even to mention the snail darter, if the dam was never completed. This after the dam was 90% done!! Congress loved its pork though, and over-road the Committee and the ESA, and finished the damn dam, violating residents property rights in the process, in the opinion of many whose land was put permanently underwater.



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  1. DoryFun Avatar

    In that article TUTCHTON says: “It’s a crummy way to run a country, but unfortunately the sticking of little deals into a budget is a time-honored method.” So why isn’t there some kind of movement to challenge this kind of tactic?
    In 1994, Ralph Nader offered $10000 to a charity of choice, by any senator or representative that signed an affidavit signifying that they had read a 550-page document and answer questions about it, that had pertained to a WTO Uruguay Trade Negotiations that had been sent to congress.
    With no public meetings, hearings, or informative education, this free trade agreement gave the WTO power to undermine international conventions and treaties. The WTO agreement was drafted by representatives of multinational corporations. Only Senator Hank Brown (CO Repubican) followed up on Nader’s offer. But, after so reading, changed his mind about voting against ratifying the WTO document sent to Congress.
    So, yes, this is a bad form of politics, and bad habits die hard. But they need to die, or corruption will continue. Emotionalism still seems to rule politics, as evidence by decisions being made without even knowing (or getting informed about) most of the facts. At least a bridle would be nice for riding a runaway horse.

  2. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I want to offer a general opinion about govt. My considered opinion is that when govt ceased to be an essentially volunteer position it ceased to be “of the people, by the people, for the people, ” and has been reduced to an entity that has only one justification; self-perpetuation.
    That is accomplished by enacting laws,backed by threat of force, or fear of (fill in the blank), that can only be enforced by government. The verse from the Simon and Garfunkel song is ever more relevent;” …we would like to know a little bit more about you for our files…” Fuck them.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan