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Originally published Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 5:01 PM

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Lawmakers try to lift wolf protection despite deal

Key lawmakers in the political skirmish over gray wolves in the West say they will continue their efforts to lift federal protections for the predators, despite a proposed settlement between environmentalists and the government.

Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. —

Key lawmakers in the political skirmish over gray wolves in the West say they will continue their efforts to lift federal protections for the predators, despite a proposed settlement between environmentalists and the government.

The settlement is pending approval in federal court. It would lift wolf protections in Idaho and Montana, but keep them at least temporarily in Wyoming Utah, Washington and Oregon.

The deal also includes safeguards sought by environmentalists - features absent from pending legislation in Congress. But whether the agreement will be approved before lawmakers act is uncertain.

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana told The Associated Press he won't wait if Congress can act more quickly. And in the House, Idaho Republican Mike Simpson says he remains committed to legislation lifting wolf protections.

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