Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition

Unifying the voice of a generation in environmental solidarity

Wolves and Democracy Threatened in Michigan

on April 12, 2013

Earlier this year some Michigan politicians announced plans to open a sport hunting season for wolves in the state, just after wolves were removed from the endangered species list in 2012.

Since then, a group called “Keep Michigan Wolves Protected” launched a grassroots campaign to gather enough signatures to place this issue on the 2014 ballot for voters to decide. In March they submitted 253,705 signatures to get a wolf hunting referendum on the ballot, far surpassing the 160,000 signatures needed! This truly seemed to be a victory for the grassroots, and a much needed delay to the legislative process the would open season on these animals.

Yesterday a bill sponsored by Senator Tom Casperson (Escanaba) was passed through the Natural Resources Commission and is now making its way to the senate floor for a vote. Similar to many other bills Casperson has sponsored, this is an effort to remove conservation protections and endanger wildlife in order to turn a profit. If passed, this bill will strip the voters of their rights to vote on this issue by specifying that only the Michigan legislature has the power to name a potential game species. In other words, the 253,705 voter signatures and countless volunteer hours to collect them will go ignored and a referendum will not be allowed to take place on this issue.

From Michigan Radio, here’s the language from the bill (SB 288)- the proposed new language is in bold:

“Sec. 40110. (1) Only the legislature or the commission may designate a species as game. If an animal is designated under this section by the legislature or commission as game, then only the legislature or commission may authorize the establishment of the first open season for that animal. Only the legislature may remove a species from the list of game. The commission shall exercise its authority under this subsection by issuing orders.”

So now we have to wonder…

wolvesanddemocracy

If you’re as outraged about this as I am, please take some time to call and email your state senators and URGE THEM TO VOTE NO ON SB 288. I’ve heard that this could go up for vote in the senate next week, so let’s flood their inboxes with messages to let them know that it is not acceptable to shut out voters from this process, and hunting wolves is not something that our state needs or wants.

[if you’re concerned about wolves eating your livestock, don’t worry because our state already has a management plan in effect that can allow for “removal” of wolves if they become a nuisance]

Here’s some text from Stephanie at GVSU that you can use to craft your message:

“Greetings, Senator ____,  I am writing with a deep sense of urgency as I implore you to vote NO on SB 288. Those who most want wolf hunting in Michigan asserted SB 288 on Tuesday (April 9). Its passing would effectively dismiss the referendum efforts of thousands of concerned Michigan citizens like me by decreeing that only the state legislature has the right to decide which animals are hunted. Worse, it would undermine citizens’ longstanding agency in what happens to our state’s wildlife! Last month your constituents submitted their support for Michigan’s wolf population in the form of a petition bearing over 250,000 signatures. I urge you to honor the will of the people behind those signatures by voting “NO” on SB 288. I appreciate your attention to my message and this urgent matter.”

LOOK UP CONTACT INFO FOR YOUR REPS HERE!

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