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A recent congressional rider that removed federal protections for gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains has set a precedent that could encourage lawmakers to weaken protections for other species, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said at AAAS.

Sylvia Fallon, now with NRDC’s Wildlife Conservation Project, said it is too early to say whether the rider involving wolves was an aberration or the start of a more activist role by Congress to directly intervene in the administration of the Endangered Species Act.