Governor C.L. "Butch" said today that his meeting with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar this week was aimed at quickening the pace of efforts to address the devastating impact of wolves on Idaho's elk, deer and livestock and restoring State management over hundreds of wolves now roaming Idaho.
"We will keep working with the Interior Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the coming weeks to craft an agreement outlining the State's role in wolf management, providing additional flexibility for addressing depredation, and committing enough federal funding to cover wolf management," Governor Otter said after Tuesday's meeting with Secretary Salazar. "But if we don't reach an agreement within a reasonable time -- we've set October 7th as a deadline -- the State will no longer participate as a designated agent for monitoring, providing law enforcement support or investigating wolf deaths in Idaho."
The Governor said talks will continue while he works with Idaho's congressional delegation and such allies as Congressman Denny Rehberg of Montana to develop bipartisan legislation aimed at a long-term solution to problems presented by lawsuits stopping efforts to delist and responsibly manage wolves in Idaho and Montana.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy has indicated that Idaho and Montana have such management plans in place for managing their wolf populations, but that the absence of a similar plan in Wyoming warrants placing the entire Northern Rockies population of wolves back under federal protection.