Environmental groups get caught in their own wolf trap

P resident Barack Obama signed the budget resolution Friday that for the first time removed a species from the endangered species list by congressional action. The delisting of Rocky Mountain gray wolves means that hunters in Idaho and Montana will be able to shoot wolves again.

If you wanted to come up with a scenario that underscores the machinations of national wildlife advocacy groups, you couldn’t have done better than the real events.

First, they won a federal lawsuit that they could not defend politically. Then they tried to get a do-over, agreeing to a settlement that handed power over wolves back to the very states they had been saying could not be trusted to manage them.

Needless to say, many of the people who gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to these groups because they love wolves and want to see them protected are not happy. Some feel betrayed. But still, a federal judge shot them down and it fell to Congress to defuse the issue.

It all came down to politics, and Obama went with the people who helped bring him to power: Western Democrats. Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester was facing a nearly impossible re-election as long as wolves were under federal protection. Now the election’s a tight one. His opponent, Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, voted against his fellow Republicans on the House 2012 budget proposal because the deep cuts to Medicare would hurt his election chances.

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