Wyoming's governor may be a Democrat, but he doesn't seem to feel very warm and fuzzy where the federal government is concerned:
From today's Casper Star-Tribune:Freudenthal says wolf plan shows fed's 'heavy hand'
By JOAN BARRON Star-Tribune capital bureau Thursday, July 31, 2003
CHEYENNE -- Gov. Dave Freudenthal is among the many who don't like the wolf management plan approved by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission but he says it is "workable."
"I don't think anybody likes this plan," Freudenthal said at a press conference Wednesday. "I mean, it's one of these things we didn't want to have to do to begin with. And it is just a continuing reminder of, frankly, the heavy-handed federal government in Wyoming."
Now, he said it is up to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials to come through with their commitment to move forward to delist the wolf and remove federal protections under the Endangered Species Act.
The final state management plan classifies the gray wolf as both a predator and a trophy game animal and commits the state to maintaining at least 15 wolf packs statewide.
"We have to get the wolf delisted because the population numbers are growing exponentially," Freudenthal said.
He said two Republican legislators, Sen. Delaine Roberts of Etna and Rep. Mike Baker of Thermopolis, deserve credit for their work on the wolf management plan.
He said he is hoping for "speedy action" by the USFWS but isn't expecting it.
Earlier, Freudenthal asked the U.S. Department of Interior to identify one official as a "point person" to voice the department's position on wolf management.
"I think we're getting about as much federal dance on that as I've seen on anything," the governor said.
Despite his inquiries and those of Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., the department has not identified a spokesperson on wolves, he said, adding the state will proceed regardless.
The governor also announced the state is developing a long-range plan to improve visibility and air quality in the state.
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality staff members have been working with the Western Regional Air Partnershp (WRAP) for several years to develop a plan to deal with problems first identified by the Grand Canyon Visibility Transport Commission in 1996.
The partnership supports efforts in 13 Western state governments and tribal areas to improve visibility in more than 156 federally designated areas, including Yellowstone National Park and the Bridger-Teton Wilderness area, as well as overall air quality in the entire region.
The plan follows guidelines in the federal Regional Haze Rule, according to a release from the governor's office. Those guidelines provide certainty and flexibility for the state's industries while also moving ahead to improve the state's water quality, the governor said.
He said energy development and environmental protection are "not mutually exclusive."
Both are public priorities and create pressures, he said.
"Policy development needs to account for those pressures but you don't have to have one or the other," he said.
Freudenthal also told of meeting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Pat Wood in Gillette on Monday and their talk about increasing transmission capacity from Wyoming for natural gas and electricity. Wood also toured coalbed methane operations in the Powder River Basin.