As a reader of the Payson Roundup and as the vice-chair of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, I felt it important to comment on two recent articles on Mexican wolf recovery authored by Peter Aleshire. Peter seems to lead the reader to a negative view of what many consider a successful program to reestablish the Mexican wolf as an important part of the biodiversity in the American Southwest and Mexico.
In his May 24 article, “Ducey signs new rules for killing endangered Mexican gray wolves,” Peter contends that the bill, HB2181, “makes it easier to shoot a Mexican wolf” if it is actively threatening people, livestock or pets. But this is not accurate, as Mr. Aleshire leaves out a key point he made in an April 1 article about House approval of this bill. The Mexican wolf is federally protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, which prohibits the killing of an endangered species without authorization from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service except in specific instances, such as when there is a threat to human safety. Under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, Congress may enact statutes that preempt conflicting state laws. Section 6(f) in the ESA is known as an express preemption because it affirmatively prohibits state laws that conflict with the ESA and prohibits state laws that are less protective than the ESA. The ESA and its regulations, therefore, supersede any state laws that are less restrictive than the ESA or its regulations. That language is pretty clear and unambiguous: federal statute supersedes state statute in this case. HB2181 would do nothing to actually make it easier to kill a Mexican wolf.