Earth Shakers: The Counter-Enviro Power List

Jim Magagna: Executive Vice President, Wyoming Stock Growers Association

May 1, 2005
Outside Magazine

Magagna, a third-generation sheep rancher from Rock Springs, Wyoming, is the man to watch in the fight to roll back wolf recovery in the American West. Working closely with the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, the 62-year-old Magagna and his Cheyenne-based ranchers' group have been leaders in the campaign to stop the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's landmark 1995 wolf-reintroduction program in Yellowstone National Park. Today, with some 835 gray wolves roaming the northern Rockies, the feds are ready to remove them from the endangered species list—if and when they feel they can safely hand control back to the states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

The Interior Department has approved wolf-management plans submitted by Montana and Idaho, but in 2004 it rejected Wyoming's plan—drafted in large measure by Magagna—because it included an unregulated, kill-at-will provision for wolves found outside of national parks and designated wilderness areas. Now Wyoming and the Wyoming Wolf Coalition, a group headed in part by Magagna, have sued the U.S. Department of Interior, saying it didn't have adequate grounds to reject the state's wolf plan. U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson is expected to rule on the case sometime later this year.

SOUND BITE: "Some of our members would like wolves to go away," says Magagna. "In reality, we don't expect that, so we must maintain management flexibility. Under our plan, if you see a wolf [outside a designated area], you can kill it."

NEXT UP: Magagna's 2005 goals include lobbying Congress to revise the Endangered Species Act, which he feels infringes on private-property rights, and working with the Bush administration to reform policies so that ranchers have more say over federal land decisions.

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