Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wyoming Gubenatorial Candidates Debate Wolves

October 11, 2014 

From legalizing medical marijuana to women’s wages and hunting wolves, the four candidates running for governor fielded wide-ranging questions in Thursday’s debate at Casper College about issues that affect Wyoming.

The Casper Star-Tribune and the college hosted the debate, which is now online at trib.com. The questions posed to the candidates came from the Casper-Star Tribune editorial board, Star-Tribune readers and the audience at the debate.

Wolves

A federal judge recently turned wolf management back over to the federal government, putting the state’s wolf management plan on hold. Wills has said the state needs to defy that judge and begin the wolf hunt.

Mead said the Endangered Species Act needs to be reformed.

Gosar said the state’s wolf plan was a nonbinding arrangement, even though Idaho’s and Montana’s plans are going forward. Wyoming had two years to make that binding, he said. “The question has to be asked: Why aren’t ours? Why (was) ours made nonbinding?” he asked. “Why didn’t we put in that extra time and effort to make sure that that plan was consummated?”

On Friday, the Star-Tribune checked with the governor's office about sanctions it could face for defying a federal judge, as Wills advocates. Mead is a former federal prosecutor.

Mead's spokeswoman, Michelle Panos, said a judge can find someone in contempt of court for defying a federal law. "For instance, after checking with the (U.S Fish and Wildlife Service), I was told that if someone illegally hunts wolves in violation of the Endangered Species Act, they could be subject to a fine of up to $50,000 and/or up to one year in jail," she wrote in an email.

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