A northern Wisconsin State Senator is not pleased with last Friday’s ruling by a judge stripping Wisconsin of its ability to manage the wolf population. Republican Tom Tiffany from Hazelhurst says U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell’s decision calling the state’s program “arbitrary and capricious” is out of line. “We have built a wolf program here in Wisconsin that works for Wisconsin. Wolf numbers are at all-time highs, yet she’s saying now that the Great Lakes states, the wolf should be put back on the endangered species list, and there’s no justification for that.”
Tiffany believes it’s the judge’s decision that is “arbitrary and capricious.”
The changes mean no wolf hunting, and Wisconsinites cannot protect their property and livestock. Tiffany expects that will cost Wisconsinites even more money. “I expect wolf depredation payments to go up. They’re probably going to come out of the endangered species fund now since it’s listed as an endangered species once again. That means it should come out of the endangered resources fund. I’m sure the DNR is not going to be happy with that.”
Tiffany will be serving on the state’s Joint Finance Committee in the new Legislative session. He says Wisconsin needs to halt all state dollars used for wolf management until the state’s management plan is returned. “Once they give us the authority, they being the federal government, when they give us authority once again to manage wolves, then we should reinstitute our wolf management plan, but until then, we should not put any more money, any more of state taxpayer’s money, into wolf research programs.”
The Senator is also looking into other funding sources to make sure Wisconsin’s sportsmen aren’t paying for an unwanted federal order. “I want to take a look at Pittman-Robertson moneys, which is money that comes from the federal government that’s an excise tax on ammunition and firearms that gets reallocated to the states, and I’m going to take a look at if any of that is going into the wolf management program, because if it is, we should direct it someplace else to benefit sportsmen here in Wisconsin.”
Tiffany, like many landowners and lawmakers, believes the federal government is infringing on states rights under pressure from environmentalists. “I think it’s just a very important issue because it really is the federal government intervening to prevent states from being able to manage wildlife populations, and doing it in an inappropriate manner. It’s the extreme environmentalists who always run to the federal courts when they can’t get their way in a state Legislature.”
The State Senator is also calling on U.S. Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin and incoming Members of Congress to examine the endangered species act, and to dig into how federal judges can, as he put it, overstep their authority.
Tiffany says the process of appealing the judge’s ruling is slow and could easily take until sometime in 2017. He says environmentalists consider the nearly three year delay a victory.