Burns would shear wolf funding

  Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., wants to kill one federal environmental program to fund another. His amendment to the recently passed Interior appropriations bill would cut wolf reintroduction budgets and give the money to whirling disease research. Burns told The Billings Gazette that "whirling disease represents a real threat to Montana's economy and environment, while wolf reintroduction is misguided and frivolous."

Burns would divert $200,000 from wolves to a Montana State University project in Bozeman studying the parasitic infection that affects trout cartilage and eventually kills the fish. Burns fears a loss of tourist dollars if popular fishing streams get infected. Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife, says Burns' proposal to cut wolf funding makes no sense.

"Bringing back the wolves to Yellowstone National Park is the most popular thing the Park Service has done in decades," he says.

*Shea Andersen

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