A U.S. House subcommittee has approved money for the National Park Service to prepare an environmental impact statement next year on possible reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park.
The Interior Appropriations Subcommittee included $200,000 for the EIS in the Interior Department spending bill for fiscal year 1989, which starts Oct. 1. The request came from Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, who also has introduced legislation mandating a wolf study."If Congress directs us to do an EIS on wolves, we'd be hard-pressed not to go forward with it," said Rob Wallace, NPS congressional liaison.
The Wyoming congressional delegation opposes wolf reintroduction. Their objections were instrumental in blocking a plan by the Park Service to start studying reintroduction last year.
The House subcommittee's approval of the money this week is only one hurdle that must be cleared for a study. The House still has to approve the money. In the Senate, Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., the second-ranking Republican, is expected to block funding.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, another agency in Interior, completed work on its Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Plan last fall, but further work has been put on hold.
Wyoming's congressional delegation says wolf reintroduction lacks support from ranchers around Yellowstone, who would have to deal with predation from wolves that wander out of the park.