Melissa Smith: Tammy Baldwin should protect wolves not seek to delist them

Original op-ed published by the The Cap Times on November 20, 2017

Dear Editor: Senator Tammy Baldwin is a co-sponsor of two wolf delisting bills, S.164 and S. 1514. These bills delist wolves in the Western Great Lakes and specifically state “Such reissuance shall not be subject to judicial review.”

Judicial review is one of the checks and balances in the separation of powers: the power of the judiciary to supervise the legislative and executive branches when the latter exceed their authority. How can they justify taking away this right?

This is a Republican playbook move. What if there was no judicial review of banning gay marriage for example, and the GOP took that away? Not to mention this is an affront to the Endangered Species Act, in which judicial review is protected.

This shows contempt for the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals which has reinforced that wolves should be protected and that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not follow the rules. And this was ruled with at least one conservative judge. The delisting of any species should be in accordance with the Endangered Species Act and based on the best available science and not irrational fears or to appease any special interest groups. If you want wolves delisted, they should go through proper USFWS procedure, not for the NRA.

Congress should not enact laws to circumvent the courts, ignore science or take away our right to challenge decisions. And clearly, the state of Wisconsin cannot be trusted with sustainable wolf management. Hoping for the best isn’t a good political or legal move.

The majority of Wisconsinites do not want a reduction in our wolf population. That’s called democracy. We know how important they are to manage CWD and provide other ecological benefits. Depredation on livestock is down 36 percent to less than 40 cows, even though there is a record wolf population. More ESA, less NRA — please Tammy.

Melissa Smith  (Madison, WI)

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