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07/28/2002 "Idiot Report on the big W"

Interior Secretary Norton Shelves Grizzly Bear Recovery In Northern Rockies In Favor Of "No Action" Decision Sends "Chilling Message"

Interior Secretary Gale Norton's decision to shelve grizzly bear recovery in central Idaho and western Montana "sets a dangerous precedent in vetoing a major conservation initiative in a way that undermines the purposes of the Endangered Species Act," Jamie Rappaport Clark, the National Wildlife Federation's Senior Vice President for Conservation, said here today.

In her first major wildlife decision since assuming office, Secretary Norton announced earlier in the day that she is abandoning plans to reintroduce grizzly bears in the Selway-Bitterroot Ecosystem of the Northern Rockies in favor of an official position of "no action."

"Imperiled wildlife in the United States is not brought back from the brink of extinction by no action," Clark said. "Gray wolves would not be thriving in Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho today if Secretary Norton's policy had been in place when that recovery got underway. Her decision not only deals a severe blow to grizzly bear recovery, but sends a chilling message for other wildlife recovery efforts across the country."

Last November, after years of study and public comment both in the region and nationally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the Interior Department issued a final record of decision to move forward with grizzly bear recovery.......

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