Kempthorne in Their Paws
Say goodbye for now to one enviro fad — more grizzly bears in the lower 48 states. Interior Secretary Gale Norton is preparing to drop the Clinton administration’s plan to reintroduce grizzlies into the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana and Idaho. The bears have been removed from 98 percent of their historic range and only about 1,200 remain south of Canada. The Clinton administration’s reintroduction plan was built on the work of a local partnership of environmentalists, timber officials, and mill workers — just the sort of model that Norton and her ilk claim to love. But Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne (R) has said he doesn’t want “massive, flesh-eating carnivores” reintroduced into his state (note: grizzlies are omnivores); he sued to stop the plan right before President Bush took office. Norton’s aides say she wants to respect states’ rights and will likely defer to Kempthorne on this one.