ENDANGERED SPECIES -- Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter decided against taking a formal stance on a settlement to allow public hunting of wolves in parts of the Northern Rockies as state representatives headed for court hearing in Missoula today.
Otter’s chief lawyer David Hensley says the plan is going before a federal judge, but Otter has decided against taking a formal position.
The settlement is between the Obama administration and 10 conservation groups. The groups, under pressure from Western lawmakers in Congress, agreed give up their fight to keep almost 1,300 wolves on the endangered list in Idaho and Montana.
Although Montana has endorsed the settlement plan as a way to move forward on wolf control, Idaho opted out of the settlement negotiations, and Otter has instead focused on an uncertain "congressional fix" to restore state management of wolves.