If Idaho County residents take the advice of failed gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell and start illegally killing wolves, law enforcement will step in. "I think it's pretty clear to say that if there's a federal law that is violated, then the federal law will have to be engaged," Meggan Laxalt Mackey, an external affairs specialist with the agency, told the Lewiston Tribune, adding, "Federal law enforcement officials will have to act." Click below for a full report.
Feds plan action if Idaho wolves killed illegally
GRANGEVILLE, Idaho (AP) — Law enforcement will take action if northern Idaho residents take the advice of a failed gubernatorial candidate and start illegally killing wolves, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official said.
"I think it's pretty clear to say that if there's a federal law that is violated, then the federal law will have to be engaged," Meggan Laxalt Mackey, an external affairs specialist with the agency, told the Lewiston Tribune.
Rex Rammell told a crowd of more than 100 Wednesday night in Idaho County that residents should organize a hunt and start killing wolves, saying he didn't think local, state and federal authorities would interfere.
"Federal law enforcement officials will have to act," she said. "However, there's not a lot we can do right now. No illegal activity has happened. But in any state, including Idaho, federal law enforcement officials and state law enforcement officials and anybody who has to represent and uphold the law will be working together very closely."
Wolves lost their endangered status in Montana and Idaho in 2009, but were returned to the endangered list this year following a lawsuit from environmentalists.
Rammell made his comments at a meeting sponsored by the Committee for a Safe and Wolf-free Idaho. Rammell is a member of the group.
Rammell has said he plans to move to Idaho County. Besides eliminating wolves from the state, he said he also wants to force the federal government out of Idaho County.
He said county commissioners should pass an emergency ordinance allowing citizens to shoot wolves.
Idaho County Commission Chairman Skip Brandt said commissioners would not pass an ordinance that would give people the impression they could break federal laws.
"The constitution is very clear that there are states' rights but it doesn't give county rights," Brandt said. "The counties operate under the state, period. I would not be in support of moving forward with any such thing, because to suggest to people that they can go out there and break the law, I could not feel right about that."
He also questioned Rammell's plan.
"I don't believe any of those folks talking about hunting wolves have ever hunted wolves," Brandt said. "They're not that easy to hunt and they could not make a dent in the wolf situation."
Idaho County Commissioner-elect Jim Chmelik of Cottonwood said he could only back actions that are legal.
"I don't want to be responsible for authorizing somebody to have to pay a $100,000 fine and go to jail," Chmelik said. "If there's a legal constitutional framework that we can work within (to address the wolf situation) we can do that."
Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.