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Apache County cites states' rights with Mexican Gray Wolf ordinance
Apache County Supervisors have passed an ordinance that prohibits state and federal government from releasing Mexican Gray Wolves in the county. But the measure is drawing criticism from environmentalists who want to protect the threatened wolf species.
The Apache County Board passed the ordinance this week after listening to hours of testimony from ranchers who complained the wolves are killing their livestock. The county said it has the authority to ban reintroduction of the Mexican Gray Wolf under the 10th amendment of the constitution that addresses the rights of states and local government.
But, Michael Robinson with the Tucson-based environmental group The Center for Biological Diversity said the county ordinance can’t supersede the federal wolf reintroduction program.
“This is another livestock industry attempt to attack the very vulnerable Mexican Wolves that are out there and to challenge the broad authority and responsibility of our federal government to conserve and eventually recover this endangered animal," Robinson said.
Robinson said 75 Mexican Gray wolves currently live in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico. Apache County Supervisors have sent copies of their 11-page ordinance to Governor Jan Brewer, the state legislature and Congress.