Economics of Wolves

State Department of Natural Resource Officials have had their hands tied by the Endangered Species Act. Federal Courts have blocked the US Fish and Wildlife Services from delisting wolves and have effectively stripped away the ability of local officials to manage the burgeoning gray wolf population. The State of Wisconsin officially suspended its wolf management plan after the ability to manage the population was withdrawn. Baffling, The Wisconsin DNR continues to spend nearly $1 million a year looking for tracks, counting, tagging, satellite monitoring, investigating, etc. and is not even allowed to manage the animals themselves. This is a problem born from the Federal government's inept ability to implement and manage the Endangered Species Act, and the citizens of Wisconsin should demand that the Federal government foot the entire bill to continue this work for them.

The U.S Fish and Wildlife's recovery criteria established in the Recovery Plan under the Endangered Species Act, includes the assured survival of the gray wolf population in Minnesota and a population of 100 or more wolves in Wisconsin/Michigan for a minimum of five consecutive years. Today, because of abuses by radical environmental organizations and their well-compensated lawyers, coupled with the inept management of the law by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, wolf population totals in Wisconsin are skyrocketing seven to ten times the initial goals established, with no end in sight.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA)-A Flawed Law

You know the story: wolves are listed, delisted, listed.­.. The structure of ESA encourages frivolous lawsuits. The gray wolf has become the literal cash cow for environmental groups and their lawyers seeking to use the wolf as a portal to funding their liberal agendas.  

                                                       How the Law Works-or Doesn't

Species are listed by a petition process, which means that anyone can send a letter to the federal government asking that a species, either plant or animal, be put on the ESA list. The federal government has 90 days to respond to that petition, no matter how frivolous. If the federal government fails to respond in 90 days, the petitioner, in the vast majority of cases, radical environmental groups file litigation against the federal government and get its attorney's fees paid. The simple act of filing litigation does not mean the species will get listed or that it is warranted to be protected; this litigation is only over whether the federal government failed to respond to the petition in 90 days. Between 2000 and 2009, in just 12 states and the District of Columbia, 14 environmental groups filed 180 federal court complaints to get species listed under the ESA and were paid $11,743,287 in attorney's fees and costs (funded by taxpayer dollars).

Radical environmental groups flood the Feds with species petitions. On July 12, 2011, the Justice Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced an historic agreement which will require the American taxpayers to pay $206,098,920 to just process the paperwork deciding whether to include over 1,000 plants, bugs, worms, and other assorted creatures on the Endangered Species list. None of this money goes to on-the-ground conservation; this taxpayer funding is just to process petitions filed by only two, out of dozens, radical environmental groups that think newts and moths are more important than using taxpayer dollars towards the health of or our children, caring for the elderly, or protecting our citizens from radical terrorists.

The Government Accountability Office did a report on this problem and published a report in 2012. The GAO requested data from the departments about all available cases where attorney's fees were sought and paid for between fiscal year 2000 and fiscal year 2010. According to the GAO, which studied attorney's fees paid on behalf of lawsuits involving three federal agencies, litigation costs paid by the federal government for the Endangered Species Act were the highest, totaling $21,298,971 in 238 separate payments between March 2001 and September 2010. Federally paid litigation costs involving the Endangered Species Act paid on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture were $1,628,215 in 16 separate payments between March 2001 and September 2010. Endangered Species Act litigation payments represented nearly half of all attorney's fees and costs paid by the federal government between March 2001 and September 2010 (254 payments of 525 payments, or $22.8 million of the $44.4 million paid out during that time). The average payment of attorney's fees and costs brought under the Endangered Species Act (paid on behalf of the Interior Department only) was $24,671

                                                        "Sue and Settle"

According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit membership organization advocating pro-business policies at the federal level, the phrase "sue and settle" refers to a private group's lawsuit against a federal agency that effectively mandates that agency's priorities and activities through a court-approved settlement. Critics say that legally mandated settlements with a federal agency are typically synonymous with the goals of the outside interest group bringing the lawsuit. In the context of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the process is a way for environmental groups to demand the enactment of their preferred policies using the ESA's citizen suit provision. Courts may also award successful litigants with the payment of attorney's fees and other litigation costs, which critics say is another incentive to file and settle a lawsuit. "The realignment of an agency's duties and priorities at the behest of an individual special interest group runs counter to the larger public interest and the express will of Congress," according to the report.

The list of offenders is long; groups like Wild Earth Guardians, Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, the Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, the Humane Society of the United States, and the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have all turned the °save the wolf" movement into a big money laundering scam.

The implementation of the ESA has become less about protecting endangered species and more about lining the pockets of radical environmental groups and their attorneys. 

U.S. Government Accountability Office, "Limited Data Available on USDA and Interior Attorney Fee Claims and Payments," April 12, 2012
18.0 18.1 U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, "Millions of Taxpayer Dollars Spent on Endangered Species Act Litigation and Attorney Fees," June 19, 2012
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, "Sue and Settle: Regulating

How many wolves inhabit Wisconsin?  The  2019 - 2020 wolf monitoring reports counts 1034 - 1057 wolves in 256 packs, a 13.1% increase.  Using a new method that has been used in others states for years, the WI winter wolf estimate is 957 - 1573 with the most probable number as measured at the lowest point in the population cycle being 1195.

How many deer do wolves eat?  Check out the link below to review an analysis of the 2015 deer season vs. wolf deer kill by county in the Northern Forest Land

Please click the link below to see the relationship between the White-tailed deer harvest decline and the increase in unmanaged wolf population.