Obama administration officials and wildlife advocates reach uneasy agreement over gray wolves' status
BILLINGS, Mont. — Facing mounting pressure from lawmakers over gray wolves, wildlife advocates reached an agreement with the Obama administration Friday to lift protections for the species in Montana and Idaho and allow hunting.
The settlement agreement, opposed by some environmentalists, is intended to resolve years of litigation that has kept wolves in the Northern Rockies shielded by the Endangered Species Act even as the population expanded dramatically.
It also is meant to preempt action by Congress, where western Republicans are leading efforts to strip wolves of their protections nationwide.
"For too long, wolf management in this country has been caught up in controversy and litigation instead of rooted in science, where it belongs. This proposed settlement provides a path forward," said Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes.
Court documents detailing the proposed agreement between the U.S. Department of Interior and ten conservation groups were filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Montana.