(Washington, DC) — One provision tucked away in a budget deal set for a vote in Congress this week would remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list.
The measure lifts federal safeguards for the roughly 1,200 wolves living in Montana and Idaho and allows licensed hunting of the animals.
The provision is included in legislation announced by top lawmakers and President Obama last Friday that funds federal operations through the end of September.
The move means the gray wolf will become the first animal ever removed from the endangered list by an act of Congress.
Ranchers are thrilled with the move claiming a growing wolf population threatens their herds.
U.S. Senator Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, sponsored the provision claiming the wolf population in his state is "out of balance."
A Sierra Club spokesman, Matt Kirby, says the provision opens a Pandora's box that could allow politicians to cherry-pick "inconvenient species."
(Copyright 2011 by VERTEXNews/Newsroom Solutions)