WASHINGTON – A lot of things ended up in the $1.3 trillion, 2,232-page omnibus spending bill that Congress passed last week. But the wolves did not.
U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson’s proposal to drop Great Lakes gray wolves from the endangered species list was dropped from the massive spending bill at the last minute — to the delight of Minnesota environmentalists and the dismay of state farmers who say wolf populations are healthy enough now to menace their livestock.
Peterson learned it was one of his fellow Minnesota Democrats who had worked the last-minute change.
“From what I heard, my gray wolf language was taken out of the omnibus funding bill by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at the request of Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), and because of extremists who don’t understand the problems faced by rural Minnesotans,” Peterson said in a statement. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the MN Department of Natural Resources want state management of gray wolves, and this reckless decision to remove my provision will be noticed in greater Minnesota.”
McCollum was more than happy to take the credit.
“As the top Democrat on the House Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, I led the fight to remove Republican poison pills that attacked endangered species, undermined environmental safeguards, and jeopardized public health,” she said in a statement. “I am very proud that we were able to remove virtually all of these poison pills from the final bill, including the provision that targeted gray wolves.”