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Eye On Boise

Fri., Aug. 26, 2011, 1:36 p.m.

Idaho senators weigh in on grizzly shooting

Both of Idaho's U.S. senators have now weighed in on the case of Jeremy Hill, the North Idaho man who's charged with killing a two-year-old male grizzly bear on his property on May 8; Gov. Butch Otter already wrote a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar going to bat for Hill. Here's Sen. Jim Risch's statement:

“The federal case against Mr. Hill for shooting a grizzly that was on his property, where he believed he was protecting his family, is another example for the need to reform the Endangered Species Act.  Protection of your family and property has been sacrosanct since this country was formed.  What Mr. Hill did was not a criminal act in the court of common sense.  My hope is that common sense prevails in this case.”

Here's Sen. Mike Crapo's statement:

Urges swift and fair treatment for accused

Washington, DC – The U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho recently filed federal criminal charges under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) against Jeremy Hill of Porthill, Idaho, for killing a grizzly bear on his property on May 8, 2011.  Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) which handles oversight of the ESA, says that Mr. Hill deserves swift and just treatment, and urges the federal government to show fairness and common sense when considering the case.

"I have deep concerns about this incident and the decision of the government to prosecute Mr. Hill, who did what any parent would do in this situation.  Clearly, Mr. Hill thought that his family was in danger and was protecting them from harm.  I understand that the Endangered Species Act is intended to protect threatened and endangered species, but Congress never intended to do so at the expense of basic public safety and the ability to protect oneself or their loved ones in the face of danger.  The American people need to know that they can protect themselves, their families and property when threatened by federally protected wildlife, and that the government will support their right to do so.

Mr. Hill and his family deserve for this matter to come to a fair and swift conclusion, and once that happens, Congress needs to get to work on commonsense ESA reforms to ensure that this deeply unfortunate situation never happens again.  In the meantime, I am going to work with my delegation colleagues and the governor to ensure that Mr. Hill and his family get the fairest possible treatment under the law and can move on with their lives."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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