(KCPW News) A state legislative committee has advanced a resolution opposing the introduction of wolves in Utah.
On Monday, Morgan Republican Rep. Logan Wilde presented House Concurrent Resolution 19 before the House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee. Wilde said that his measure was in response to a proposal in neighboring Colorado to introduce wolves near the Utah border.
“We are opposing this action [because] we feel like this is an artificial introduction of wolves,” Wilde told the committee. “This would be like a private citizen introducing wolves into an area without any thought or regard to the natural balance that is placed there,” he said.
This coming fall voters in Colorado will decide on a ballot initiative that would require the state’s Parks and Wildlife Commission to create a plan to reintroduce gray wolves on lands west of the Continental Divide by the end of the year 2023.
As a concurrent resolution, Representative Wilde’s bill would simply put the state of Utah on record as being opposed to any artificial introduction of wolves in the Beehive State.
During public testimony, Kirk Robinson with Western Wildlife Conservancy spoke in opposition to the measure and said that wolves can play an important role in a healthy ecosystem. In particular, Robinson said that apex predators like mountain lions and wolves can help to check the spread of chronic wasting disease that is taking a toll on deer and elk herds in the western United States.
However, the Utah Farm Bureau’s Garrick Hall spoke in favor of the resolution, expressing concern that wolves would have an impact on Utah ranchers.
“We don’t want them here; we really don’t care if they’re Canadian wolves or Mexican wolves – they don’t belong in Utah,” Hall said.
HCR 19 passed the committee on an 8 to 1 vote with Salt Lake Democratic Rep. Joel Briscoe offering the only opposition to the measure.
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