State Roundup

Dean Bortz

Wisconsin Editor

Thursday, Jan. 17. That news came over the wire just as we were
wrapping up this issue. According to an internal DNR e-mail message
from that day, Wisconsin’s attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen,
signed onto an amicus (friend of the court) brief prepared and
filed by the Michigan attorney general’s office. That brief
supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule that delists
wolves as an endangered species in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota,
and parts of North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. The Humane
Society of the United States sued the USFWS when the agency
announced the delisting. HSUS filed that suit in a Washington D.C.
court in an attempt to challenge state authority to manage wolf

According to the e-mail, 12 other Midwest states, including
Minnesota, also have signed on as parties to this brief, which the
Michigan attorney general’s office intended to file on the
afternoon of Jan. 17.

The e-mail writer said Van Hollen signed onto the brief “with
(Gov. Jim Doyle’s) authorization,” and that the “inclusion of
Wisconsin and the other states will lend weight to the arguments of
the USFWS in defending the federal rule, and help impress upon the
judge how important the federal de-listing rule is to these
states.” New DNR Secretary Matt Frank also was credited with
greasing the skids on the state’s decision to join the lawsuit.

There is no question that we should tip our blaze orange hats to
Doyle and Van Hollen for jumping into this mess. HSUS doesn’t have
a leg to stand on, and, I hope, even a judge in Washington D.C.
will understand that. But, when I read that e-mail, I found myself
wondering why we had to wait until the 11th hour to make this
decision? What, 12 other states were able to sign on to this brief
ahead of Wisconsin? When you think about that for a minute, you
have to wonder if Doyle didn’t begrudgingly give Van Hollen his
“authorization” simply to avoid being embarrassed by the other
governors and attorney generals who jumped on right away. I wonder
just how many buckets of 90 weight Van Hollen, and perhaps even
Frank, needed to slide Doyle’s heels out of the carpet and onto the
skids? Now, I could be wrong on that, and, actually, I would feel
quite relieved to learn that that’s the case – that it was Doyle
who was pounding his fist on his desk demanding action and it was
Van Hollen’s office that played this out to the limit. Since
gubernatorial appointees like to protect the appointer, we may
never know how this decision really came about, but at least it did
come about. One good thing is that we do have lawyers working for
the DNR and A.G.’s office who hunt and fish, and who do understand
the science behind the wolf plan and the need to control wolf
numbers. They should be able to get that message through to the

MILWAUKEE FISHING CLUBS will host free kids ice-fishing clinics
for kids ages 15 and younger at five Milwaukee County parks and one
Waukesha County park on Saturday, Feb. 2 beginning on the hour
every hour from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteer club members will teach
kids everything from proper fishing equipment use and knot-tying to
ice safety. For a last of parks and locations, call the DNR’s Matt
Coffaro at (414) 263-8614.

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