This is the video of an informational hearing on the current status of MN Wolf Management, and how it has been affected by the recent federal court decision to restore federal protections to the Gray Wolf in the Western Great Lakes DPS under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The hearing was held by the Minnesota House Mining and Outdoor Recreation Policy Committee on 1/20/2015.
The committee heard testimony and asked questions of staff from the MN DNR, MN Dept. of Agriculture, USGS, MN Farmers Union, and MN Farm Bureau.
At least three wolf-advocacy organizations requested the opportunity to testify, but were not heard, including Howling for Wolves, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Sandy Lake Band of Mississippi Chippewa. No other legal, political, or scientific testimony was heard.
Only select testifiers were invited or allowed to speak, and they used a lot of their time to recount summaries of wolf-management history that have been heard before.
The choice of this committee to hear this issue seemed political, not policy-related. Wolf-management policy is a controversial mix of wildlife-management and agriculture policy. Not mining, and not primarily outdoor recreation.
Apparently, Committee Chairman Rep. Hackbarth got this assignment from the MN House GOP leadership on the basis of the committee's interest in recreational wolf hunting and trapping--which was not the subject of discussion.
The input of Howling for Wolves, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Sandy Lake Band of Mississippi Chippewa was needed. A federal court in December 2014 invalidated the delisting of the Gray Wolf, over which the testifying parties had presided. What's needed is to resolve these issues of wolf management better this time--in a way that won't be invalidated by a federal court. What's needed is the input of stakeholders from all points of view, in order to refine and properly implement the MN Wolf Management Plan.
All we got here was a recounting of what was done wrong, and recommendations to just do it that way, again.
Committee Chairman, MN Rep. Tom Hackbarth.