Tag Archives: Wyoming

Rep. Sean Duffy’s bill would strip protections for wolves

Legislation was introduced on Jan. 10 in Congress to strip federal protections from wolves in the Great Lakes region and Wyoming.

With language preventing any further judicial review, the bill would overrule two court decisions that found the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrongly removed Endangered Species Act protections for the wolf.

“The new Congress is the most extreme and anti-wolf our country has ever seen, and members wasted no time in attacking endangered wildlife,” said Collette Adkins, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This bill promises to undo hard-earned progress toward gray wolf recovery that has taken years to achieve. Without federal protection hundreds of wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan will once again suffer and die every year.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes region — Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota — in 2011 and in Wyoming in 2012.

Federal judges have overturned agency decisions for prematurely removing protections, failing to follow the requirements of the federal Endangered Species Act and ignoring the best available science.

Since the 2011 passage of a rider abolishing wolf protections in the northern Rocky Mountains, there have been dozens of legislative attacks on wolves in Congress, according to the CBD.  The bill introduced this week is the first introduced in the 115th Congress.

“Wolf recovery should be allowed to follow a course prescribed by science, not politics,” Adkins said. “This shameful meddling is harmful to wolves, harmful to science and harmful to our democratic processes.”

The bill has bipartisan sponsorship. It was introduced by U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., Sean Duffy, R-Wis. and Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.

Similar bills have passed the House but failed to clear the Senate and White House. But that was when the Senate and White House were in Democratic control.

CBD said the bill’s chances are considered  better in 2017,  when Republicans will control the House, Senate and White House.

For the record

Wayne Pacelle, president & CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, wrote about the issue on his blog for The HSUS. An excerpt:

With Republican majorities in both chambers, and with the Trump administration likely to actively support trophy hunting, this is a perilous moment for wolves.

In order to retain federal protections for them, we’ll need a massive outpouring of concern from citizens to their lawmakers. If they are delisted, we can expect more than 500 of the 5,000 wolves in the lower 48 to be shot, trapped, snared, and even chased by packs of hounds this coming fall and winter.

Please call your U.S. representative and U.S. senators and urge them to oppose any delisting bills or amendments or riders in Congress because they subvert judicial review and fly in the face of science that shows wolves are not adequately recovered to remove protections and turn management over to states that have pledged to immediately begin killing them again.

Your comments on the grizzly bear delisting proposal have enormously influenced decision makers, and now it’s time to speak up loudly and in overwhelming numbers for the wolves.

The entire blog is here.

 

Wyoming Game and Fish takes comments on grizzly bear plan

The state of Wyoming is moving to take over management of grizzly bears as environmental groups increasingly scrutinize whether the bear population in the Greater Yellowstone region could sustain hunting.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission held its first public hearing earlier this week outlining how the state will manage grizzly bears when they come off of the federal endangered species list. It plans other meetings around the state.

Federal announcement

The federal government announced in early March that it intends to lift threatened-species protections for grizzlies in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

The decision could lead to bear hunting in the three states for the first time since the 1970s. There are an estimated 700 to 1,000 grizzly bears in the three states.

State response

State officials have responded enthusiastically to the federal delisting announcement, but several environmental groups have said they don’t believe the Greater Yellowstone bear population can sustain hunting pressure and won’t be protected adequately without federal oversight.

The grizzly delisting decision could be setting the stage for another legal battle pitting environmental groups against state and federal agencies. Environmental groups have been pressing legal challenges for years over the federal government’s push to turn management of Wyoming wolves over to the state.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras in Washington, D.C., has sided with environmental groups that challenged a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to increase the future number of grizzlies that elk hunters at Grand Teton National Park could kill if necessary in self-defense. The judge rejected an overall challenge to elk hunting there.

Contreras ruled Tuesday that the Fish and Wildlife Service failed to document its decision to allow hunters to kill four grizzly bears over the next six years or so if necessary during the elk hunts at Grand Teton. The agency was compelled to consider increasing the number of bears it would allow to be killed there after hunters in 2012 killed a bear that confronted them.

Contreras stated in his ruling that he believes the agency would be able to substantiate its decision to allow the extra bears to be killed.

An attempt to reach a spokeswoman at Grand Teton was not immediately successful. Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael, whose office intervened in the suit, declined comment.

Environmentalists reaction

Earthjustice attorney Timothy Preso in Montana represented the Sierra Club, Western Watersheds Project and Center for Biological Diversity in challenging the agency action.

Preso said Wednesday that grizzly bear mortality has been increasing in recent years as white bark pine trees have produced fewer seeds, forcing bears to range farther in search of meat and putting them in conflict with ranchers and hunters.

Preso said he expects environmental groups will assess the federal grizzly delisting proposal carefully and comment on it.

If grizzlies are delisted, each state must have a bear management plan that addresses such things as monitoring bear populations and enforcing wildlife laws. In addition, the three states have a separate proposed plan to coordinate their management of the bears.

Wyoming’s proposed plan provides the framework and guidance on how the state will sustain a recovered population of grizzly bears, state Wildlife Chief Brian Nesvik said during Wednesday’s meeting in Casper. He said the state hopes delisting could occur by the end of this year.

Grizzly bears inside Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and on the Wind River Indian Reservation would not be subject to state management.

Wyoming’s plan notes that regulated hunting of grizzly bears may be an option for controlling the number of the animals. It would be up to the state Game and Fish Commission to approve the use of hunting and establish regulations, such as limits and seasons, through a separate process, Game and Fish spokesman Renny MacKay said.

Bearded brotherhood clubs making a difference in their communities

Goatee. Chinstrap. Muttonchops. Soul Patch. French fork. The Phil Robertson.

There are many ways men can style their facial hair—if they can grow enough of it to begin with. But no matter the style, having those chin whiskers is the No. 1 rule for one of the newest service organizations in Gillette, Wyoming.

Gillette’s Bearded Sinners Beard Club of Wyoming, which formed in March, is a brotherhood of the beard. While many of its 25 members sport massive biker manes they’ve cultivated for years, it’s not the length of the beard that counts, but the spirit.

“It doesn’t have to be humongous or anything—you could just have something that’s somewhere past a 5 o’clock shadow,” said John Balk, the group’s secretary.

While the guys in the club bond over their shared love of beards, it’s their desire to make a difference in the community — and maybe dispel some pogonophobia (yes, there’s an actual word for the fear of beards) — that drives them forward

NOT YOUR TYPICAL CHARITY

Gillette’s chapter of the Bearded Sinners Beard Club is the 14th established in the United States. There are clubs in 12 other states, as well as a chapter in England and one in Australia.

The movement began in 2012 in California as a Facebook group for guys with beards to come together and celebrate their facial fur.

“That was right around the time that beards were coming in hot again,” said Stephen Fisher, the Gillette club’s president.

But soon people began having the idea to form in-person groups of bearded men to do service projects and support local businesses while helping dispel some of the stigma surrounding bearded and tattooed men as being unsavory types.

“From an outside perspective, the members of the Bearded Sinners may come off as a beard-wearing, tattoo-having and beer-pounding bunch of degenerates,” wrote national club member Kevin Davis.

But the clubs are all about community service, whether it’s raising money for neighbors in need of help with medical bills or disaster relief, or helping keep local highways free of litter, like Gillette’s club has done.

The Campbell County group has adopted a two-mile stretch of Interstate 90 between its exits at Garner Lake Road and South Douglas Highway.

So if you’ve seen a group of tough-looking guys with beards and tattoos cleaning trash off the highway in that area, they weren’t convicts forced to do the work, but members of the club trying to make Gillette a better place.

The group also has teamed up with the Original Lady Sinners of Wyoming — a similar but completely unrelated club for Gillette women to make a difference — for some events, including a fundraiser to raise money for 18-year-old Dattona Pritchard’s medical bills as she battles kidney failure.

Nearly $20,000 was raised in a July 26 fundraiser, which consisted of live and silent auctions of items donated by the club members and the community.

“Our community is truly inspiring and we really couldn’t have asked for a better outcome,” the club wrote on its Facebook page.

The Bearded Sinners also raised funds for a motorcycle accident victim on June 18 with a concert that brought in $2,000 for the man’s medical expenses. They later surprised the man by dropping off the cash at his house.

“Just to see the look on his face was great,” Balk said. “It’s great to get that kind of community support.”

The group also will provide security at the first annual Rooftop Festival in downtown Gillette on Aug. 8, and is planning more charitable activities for later in the year.

These charitable events may help dispel the image of bearded guys somehow being scary, something Balk has experienced.

“I’m sure there have been people who thought that about me before,” the bearded, tattooed and pierced Balk said.

In fact, during a joint club event, one of the activities was face painting. When Balk — who has two kids of his own — went to paint the face of a little girl, she at first wouldn’t let him because she was afraid of his appearance.

Sometimes people are conflicted when they see the group at their events.

“There’s been a few people who were put off. They don’t really know what to think,” Balk said.

INTO THE MELTING POT

Gillette’s chapter of the club formed in March after Fisher heard of the other clubs and pitched it to some friends.

“We all thought it was a great idea,” Balk said.

In addition to the focus on beards, the club draws men from all walks of life. The “Sinners” part of the group’s name originated with some of the first national members in the California chapter who were also ex-convicts looking to make a difference.

“You don’t have to have had a bad past to be in the club, but it just shows that we get guys from every walk of life coming together,” Fisher said.

Balk, who moved to Gillette five years ago, jumped at the chance to help lead the club, which quickly gained new members.

“We’re such a melting pot in Gillette that if often feels like there’s really not much of a community,” he said. “This brings people together, and maybe we might inspire people to go out and do something on their own, like volunteer at the Soup Kitchen or start their own benefit event.”

The group’s charitable focus and getting out into the community does a lot for group members’ sense of well-being.

“It makes me feel better about myself being able to help someone else out. It’s invaluable,” Balk said. “You can’t put a value on having an impact on someone’s life.”

He hopes the group’s ranks will swell and that its example will help others in Gillette start to think outside themselves more and try to become a part of their community.

“It’d be amazing to come to a place where charity is unnecessary, but I’m not sure that will ever happen,” Balk said.

Congressional rider would strip protections for gray wolves

Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to fund the Interior Department contains a rider that would end Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes states and Wyoming.

A similar rider removing protections for wolves in Idaho and Montana was attached to a key appropriations bill and passed in 2011, marking the first time that Congress legislatively removed protections for a species. Since the 2011 rider passed, more than 1,900 wolves have been killed in the two states and many similar riders removing protections for species have been attempted.

“This is another cynical attack on science and the Endangered Species Act that will result in wolves being mindlessly slaughtered in the few places where they have begun to recover,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The American people know that the gray wolf’s still-fragile recovery is one of the Endangered Species Act’s great success stories, and they want wolves protected until the job is done. The Obama administration needs to oppose this rider, which is out of step with the American people and has no place in an appropriations bill.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lifted federal protections for gray wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota in 2011 and in Wyoming in 2012.

Federal judges overturned both decisions for failing to follow the requirements of the act, failing to follow the best available science and for prematurely turning management over to state fish and game agencies openly hostile to wolves.

The rider in the Interior appropriations bill would reverse these court orders, wiping out Endangered Species Act protections for the approximately 4,000 wolves that live in those four states.

“Rather than letting the Endangered Species Act’s recovery process play out — not to mention the legal appeals on these two cases — House Republicans are ignoring both the best science on wolf recovery and the law,” Hartl said. “This meddling is dangerous for wolves, the rule of law and the Endangered Species Act itself.”

Since gaining protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1976, gray wolves have made progress toward recovery in the lower 48, with populations growing from fewer than 1,000 wolves to more than 4,000 today. When federal protections were lifted in 2011 and 2012, state-sanctioned hunts resulted in more than 1,600 wolves being killed, contributing to a 25 percent decline in Minnesota and a 9 percent decline in the Northern Rockies. The federal court decisions rejected the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decisions to delist the gray wolf because the states’ regulatory programs did not adequately maintain wolf populations in those states.

In the western Great Lakes decision, the federal court observed that the service never downlisted the gray wolf from endangered to threatened — a middle step that would have allowed states to address wolf conflicts while allowing for the continued recovery of the wolf.

In January, about 20 organizations filed a petition with the Fish and Wildlife Service to reclassify gray wolves as threatened.

“Congressional delisting of the gray wolf in Montana and Idaho opened a dangerous door,” said Hartl. “Now no species is safe from cynical and politically motivated attacks by the extreme wing of the Republican Party. From the sage grouse to the Delta smelt to the critically endangered American burying beetle, every endangered species is now on notice that it can be consigned to extinction by the whims of Congress for no other reason than being politically unpopular.”

‘Smuggled’ brownies prompt Wyoming to look at marijuana laws

A legislative committee is looking at whether state law needs to be clarified on how the illegal use of edible marijuana is penalized in Wyoming.

As more people travel to Colorado and purchase legal treats such as brownies, cookies, or candy infused with marijuana, prosecutors are having a hard time classifying the offense as it travels back to pot-free territory, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.

It’s challenging to isolate the cannabis and to determine the weight of the drug in the food, causing confusion on how to account for non-marijuana ingredients when determining penalties, witnesses told the Joint Judiciary Committee last week.

“It’s a hole,” Ninth District Judge Norman Young of Fremont County said. “It’s a very significant hole right now, given the way things are in Colorado.”

The committee will investigate the issue this summer and possibly draft a bill for the committee to sponsor in 2016.

Wyoming law has different penalties depending on the form of a drug because of the concentration of the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, said Park County Attorney Brian Skoric, representing the Wyoming County and Prosecuting Attorneys’ Association.

In plant form, marijuana possession becomes a felony if someone has over 3 ounces. In a liquid form, it becomes a felony if someone possess more than three-tenths of a gram.

“What is the form of THC in edibles?” Skoric asked. “It goes in as an oil, but then it solidifies.”

If a police officer were to weigh a candy bar, “you can get over 3 ounces pretty quickly and you’ve got a felony,” Rep. David Miller, R-Riverton, said.

Rep. Ken Esquibel, D-Cheyenne, questioned how a police officer can tell the difference between “grandma’s cookies and a cookie that may have marijuana in it?”

David Delicath, Wyoming deputy attorney general, said there would be a combination of factors that could help the officer.

“Packaging. Sometimes people simply admit what they have. And while an officer can’t tell the difference, the dog can,” Delicath said.

Massachusetts most Democratic state, Wyoming most Republican | And Wisconsin?

The new red, blue and gray map is out. Gallup, in its annual State of the States review, identifies the most Republican states as Wyoming and Utah and the most Democratic states as Massachusetts and Maryland.

Where does Wisconsin fall in the listing? Wisconsin is identified in the survey as “competitive.”

The report, released on Feb. 18, is based on the political party identification and leanings of state residents in 2014. Gallup also looked at trends in past years.

The Democratic advantage in Massachusetts and Maryland exceeds 20 percentage points.

The Republican advantage in Utah and Wyoming exceeds 30 percentage points.

The run down …

Most Democratic:

1. Massachusetts.

2. Maryland.

3. Rhode Island.

4. New York.

5. Vermont.

6. California.

7. Hawaii.

8. Delaware.

9. Illinois.

10. Connecticut and New Jersey tie.

Most Republican:

1. Wyoming.

2. Utah.

3. Idaho.

4. South Dakota.

5. Montana.

6. Alabama.

7. Kansas.

8. Tennessee.

9. North Dakota.

10. Nebraska.

The results were based on Gallup Daily interviews in 2014 with more than 177,000 adults in the United States. People were asked whether they identified with the Republican or Democratic party. If they identified as Independents, they were asked whether they leaned to the Democratic or Republican party.

Gallup, in its analysis, said, “The rank order of the states based on their partisanship has been fairly consistent over time. Since Gallup began reporting on state party identification seven years ago, nine states have ranked in the top 10 most Democratic every year.”

The polling firm reported more variation in the top 10 Republican states, with 17 states appearing at least once since 2008. But Wyoming and Utah have consistently been at the top of the list.

In the list of competitive states, the most competitive — with an advantage of either party that is no greater than 5 percentage points — are Louisiana, Nevada and Ohio.

The implication of these findings? Gallup said, “A state’s partisanship is an indicator of how the state will vote in federal and state elections, as well as the types of policies that will become law in those states. Of course, the figures presented here are based on all state residents, and differences in turnout, which usually favor Republicans, can alter the political balance of the state electorate in a given election.”

Wyoming clerks ready to issue marriage licenses to gay couples

Wyoming stood poised today (Oct. 21) to become the latest state to allow gay marriage, bringing the national wave of expanded rights for same-sex couples to a state where the 1998 beating death of Matthew Shepard still influences national perceptions.

The state was scheduled to file a legal notice saying it won’t defend a Wyoming law that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

After that formality, county clerks around the state can begin to issue marriage licenses to gay couples and the state will recognize same-sex unions performed legally elsewhere.

The change is particularly notable in the state where Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student was robbed, tied to a fence and viciously beaten 16 years ago in a rural area outside Laramie. He died days after the attack on Oct. 12, 1998, and two men were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Shepard’s slaying galvanized a national push for tough penalties for those convicted of targeting victims because of their sexual orientation or race.

A celebration of the long-sought victory by gay rights’ advocates – featuring what could become Wyoming’s first same-sex wedding – was planned for Oct. 21 in Cheyenne.

Wyoming will join several other politically conservative states in allowing gay marriages after a series of court rulings that have struck down bans as unconstitutional. More than 30 states, including now Alaska and Arizona, have begun to recognize same-sex unions in changes triggered by a U.S. Supreme Court decision Oct. 6 that refused to hear appeals from states that wanted to defend gay marriage bans.

Gay rights supporters have said bans on same-sex unions are violations of 14th Amendment protections that guarantee equal protection under the law and due process. Opponents have said the issue should be decided by states and voters, not courts.

The Rev. Dee Lundgren, pastor of the United Church of Christ in Casper, said she has married about 10 couples who have not had their marriages legally recognized by the state.

“For me,” Lundgren said, “nothing really changes except when I do a same-sex couple there’s the joy of being able to have full legal rights, which I think is a huge issue for emotionally and spiritually just validating families.”

Massive clean energy project would light homes in Southern California with wind from Wyoming’s plains

While Wisconsin’s Republican leadership continues to thwart efforts to create a clean-energy infrastructure in the state, an alliance of four companies has proposed an $8 billion project that within a decade could send wind power generated on the plains of Wyoming to households in Southern California.

If approved and financed, the sprawling venture would produce clean power equivalent to the output of a large nuclear power plant by creating one of the country’s largest wind farms near Cheyenne, a huge energy storage site inside Utah caverns and a 525-mile electric transmission line connecting them.

“This would certainly be one of the most ambitious and expensive energy infrastructure projects we have seen,” said Travis Miller, an industry analyst for investment research giant Morningstar Inc. “Energy storage, paired with renewable energy, has been the holy grail of utilities and energy companies.”

Jeff Meyer of Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy, one of the companies behind the plan, described it as “the 21st century’s Hoover Dam,” referring to the 726-foot high span across the Colorado River that for decades has produced hydroelectric power for Nevada, Arizona, and California.

The announcement came on the same day that President Barack Obama pressed world leaders to follow the United States’ lead on climate change in a one-day United Nations summit aimed to gather support for a climate change treaty to reduce heat-trapping pollution.

The new proposal, with a tentative completion date of 2023, would potentially generate twice as much energy as the 1930s-era dam. Success hinges on a string of uncertainties, including clearing government regulatory hurdles and striking agreements to sell the power that would be essential to secure financing.

With potential shifts in government policy, environmental regulation and the economics of producing green power “any infrastructure project that looks out nine, ten years, has a lot of uncertainties,” Miller, the analyst, said.

Pathfinder Energy, Magnum Energy, Dresser-Rand and Duke-American Transmission Co. said in a statement they plan to submit the blueprint to the Southern California Public Power Authority by early 2015.

California agency officials said they were unaware of the proposal. The authority has been seeking proposals to supply the Los Angeles region with renewable power required under state law.

The new plan “would be competing with 200 other proposals,” said Steven Homer, the director of project management for the authority, whose members deliver electricity to approximately 2 million customers.

Wind development in Wyoming’s wide expanses has surged in the past decade as companies and state officials seek cleaner alternatives to coal.

The proposed wind power development near Chugwater would be a boon to the sleepy ranching town of 216 residents nestled below sandstone bluffs on the high prairie.

A decade ago, in a desperate bid to revive their economically depressed community, town officials sold city lots for $100 apiece on the condition that the buyer would build a house and live there at least two years. Results were mixed, at best: Chugwater’s population dropped 11 percent from 2000 to 2012, even as Wyoming’s overall economy grew and population increased.

If completed, it would become Wyoming’s second-largest wind power project. The biggest is a 1,000-turbine site planned by The Anschutz Corp. That project near Saratoga, in south-central Wyoming, is the largest under development in the U.S.

The rapid growth in wind power has come with a cost, however. The U.S. government estimates at least 85 eagles are killed each year by wind turbines. An Associated Press investigation in 2013 revealed that the Obama administration was not prosecuting wind energy companies for killing eagles and other protected birds.

A lynchpin in the plan would be a $1.5 billion energy storage site near Delta, Utah, 130 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. The rural area already is home to one coal-powered plant that generates electricity for Los Angeles County.

With the push for pollution-free energy sources that can help reduce greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, billions of dollars have been invested in wind and solar projects. Finding an economical way to store renewable energy, however, has been a key issue.

Under the proposal, the energy would be stored through a compressed-air system using caverns, similar to a system that has been used in Alabama since the early 1990s. When energy demand is low, excess electricity would be used to compress and inject high-pressure air into the four caverns, each of which would have 41 million cubic feet of volume. At times of high energy demand, the high-pressure air would be combined with a small amount of natural gas to power eight electricity-producing generators.

Federal judge rules against wolf hunting in Wyoming

A federal judge on Sept. 23 reinstated federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming, rejecting the state’s “wolf-management” plan that allowed them to be hunted as unprotected predators.

“The court has ruled and Wyoming’s kill-on-sight approach to wolf management throughout much of the state must stop,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso, who added that the “ruling restores much-needed federal protection to wolves throughout Wyoming, which allowed killing along the borders of Yellowstone National Park and throughout national forest lands south of Jackson Hole where wolves were treated as vermin under state management. If Wyoming wants to resume management of wolves, it must develop a legitimate conservation plan that ensures a vibrant wolf population in the northern Rockies.”

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled in favor of national environmental groups that said protections were severely lacking for the wolf, for years considered an endangered species threatened with extinction. Earthjustice represented Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity in the complaint.

The judge said that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was wrong to trust the state’s promises to protect at least 100 wolves outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation. Environmentalists have said that Wyoming law authorized unlimited wolf killing in a “predator” zone that extended throughout most of the state, and provided inadequate protection for wolves even where killing was regulated.

The judge ended both predatory and trophy hunting of wolves in Wyoming.

“The court affirmed that delisting gray wolves in Wyoming by the Obama administration was premature and a violation of federal law,” said Defenders of Wildlife president and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark. “Any state that has a wolf-management plan that allows for unlimited wolf killing throughout most of the state should not be allowed to manage wolves. Wolves need to remain protected under the Endangered Species Act until the species is fully recovered. State laws and policies that treat wolves like vermin are as outdated and discredited today as they were a century ago.”

“We’re thrilled that protections for Wyoming’s fragile population of wolves have been restored,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “With Wyoming allowing wolves to be shot on sight across more than 80 percent of the state, there is no way protections for wolves should have ever been removed.”

The state, which claims the wolf population is stable, seems likely to seek a stay and appeal to allow the wolf hunting to continue. The state took over wolf management in 2012, after the federal government ruled that wolves did not need protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Wisconsin also has authorized wolf hunts, as have Minnesota and other states. Michigan voters will cast ballots this year on whether to sanction hunting wolves, but state lawmakers already canceled wolf hunting for this year.

Right-winger Liz Cheney quits Senate race in Wyoming

Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said on Jan. 6 that she is abandoning her effort to unseat Republican incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming.

Cheney cited “serious health issues” that “have recently arisen in our family” as the reason for her decision.

But her candidacy had raised hackles in the Republican Party and caused a public rift with her sister, Mary, a lesbian, over Liz Cheney’s opposition to marriage equality.

In her withdrawal statement, Cheney did not mention those controversies.

“Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign. My children and their futures were the motivation for our campaign and they will always be my overriding priority,” Cheney said. She did not specify those health issues.

She added: “As a mother and a patriot, I know that the work of defending freedom and protecting liberty must continue for each generation. Though this campaign stops today, my commitment to keep fighting with you and your families for the fundamental values that have made this nation and Wyoming great will never stop.”

Cheney moved her family from Virginia to Wyoming to run for the seat. Her effort to replace Enzi angered and upset many Republicans and drew virtually no support from Senate Republicans, who rushed to back the Senate veteran. Enzi’s supporters called Cheney a carpetbagger and opportunist. .

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, swiftly expressed support for Enzi moments after Cheney announced last year.

When she announced her campaign, Cheney said it was time for Republicans in Congress to stop “cutting deals” with Democrats and said it was time “for a new generation of leaders.”

“We’ve got to stand and fight, and we have to defend what we believe in. We have to not be afraid of being called obstructionists,” Cheney said.

“In my view, obstructing President Obama’s policies and his agenda isn’t actually obstruction; it’s patriotism,” Cheney said. “I think we have to stop what he’s doing, and then as conservatives, we’ve got to say, `Here’s what we believe,’ and, `Here’s the path forward,’ and that’s what I intend to lay out in this campaign.”

In November, Cheney said she opposed gay marriage, sparking a public feud with her sister, Mary, who is a lesbian and married.

Cheney’s decision was first reported by CNN, The New York Times and Politico.