Friday, December 04, 2015

Another NM County opposes wolf release

Lincoln County commissioners back Socorro County's opposition to the proposed release of Mexican gray wolves in an expanded territory, as part of a federal reintroduction program. They understand Socorro County's opposition to the use of sites within its borders and believe if the releases move forward, Lincoln County will be next on the list, they stated in a resolution adopted last week. The resolution asks members of Congress to call for an investigation into the U.S, Fish and Wildlife Service's "disregard of the positions of the local and state government, and to defund the wolf recovery program." In January 2015, Fish and Wildlife Service officials finalized changes to the Mexico Wolf Experimental Population Rule in Arizona and New Mexico, enlarging the recovery area from Interstate 10 to the Mexican border. That increased the territory tenfold in which the wolves can be released initially from captivity, County Manager Nita Taylor said. On Sept. 29, 2015, the director of New Mexico Game and Fish Department denied the federal agency's request to release additional wolves in New Mexico, citing a lack of specifics about how many or where the wolves would be released, Taylor said. The state Game Commission unanimously upheld that denial. On Oct. 1, federal agency officials proposed numerous potential wolf release sites in Socorro County. That county adopted a resolution opposing the release and Lincoln County now joins in that opposition by passing resolution 2015-22, she said. The resolution read in part that the expanded areas offer "abundant open space for cover, water and a smorgasbord of commercial animals for a food source, and the county is concerned that the wolves would remain in the vicinity of the ready supply of food and water unless actions were taken to prevent or control the dispersion." Commissioners contended in the resolution that Fish and Wildlife Service officials did not sufficiently consider the impacts on the county's customs, culture and the economy in the Environment Impact Statement. "Despite the Fish and Wildlife Service's belief that it has developed a program that will compensate counties for losses that counties incur from the Mexican wolf, it is outrageous to think that compensation is even quantifiable when it has taken years for the ungulate population to develop as a result f the dedicated efforts of sportsmen, ranchers, county agencies and the state Game and Fish," the resolution states. The county "stands in stark opposition of the newly released record of decision and final rule," the resolution states. Commissioners maintain the decision is a "blatant violation of the National Environmental Protection Act requirements."...more

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