THEY SAY the pendulum of power swings easier in the opposite direction when one group abuses the system, and that is exactly what is happening with proposed modifications to the Endangered Species Act.

The Trump Administration, lawmakers and lobbyists have joined forces to overhaul that 45-year-old law because it has been misused in a variety of ways.

More than two dozen pieces of legislation, policy initiatives and amendments designed to weaken the law have been recently introduced or voted on in Congress. It’s only fair that each one be considered on its own merits.

Of the nine endangered-species related amendments that are part of a U.S. Department of Interior spending bill is one that would remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list.

It’s the one example that Wisconsin hunters and conservationists know the most about, especially the part where anti-hunting groups and pro-wolf organizations found a liberal judge in Washington, D.C. to overturn delisting decisions made by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Four times the federal agency has delisted the gray wolf in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota, and each time, these groups found a federal judge who would interpret the Endangered Species Act to their way of thinking.

For the record, the focus hasn’t been on recovering a very healthy wolf population in the western Great Lakes region. That’s been done. It’s about the mission of  pro-wolf groups to return the gray wolf to every state where it was once a native species.

Where they went overboard, in my opinion, is expecting Wisconsin to tolerate a wolf overpopulation for decades — until such time that wolves would spill over into Iowa and Illinois and beyond.

If they had mentioned the federal courts would dictate everything as Wisconsin put together its initial recovery plan and then a Wolf Management Plan calling for 350 animals, the scribbler and thousands of others wouldn’t have signed on.

Federal intervention, backed by the Endangered Species Act, is why Wisconsin now has an overpopulation of at least 950 gray wolves statewide. It is why the wolf is still “protected” from state management and lethal control methods, including a public harvest mechanism.

It is that abuse of power by organizations, attorneys and federal judges that is swinging the pendulum toward revising the Endangered Species Act. Their actions have proven the need to revise the law to something more reasonable.

Let’s be clear on one thing. Nobody is proposing to make wolves extinct or nearly extinct. This is about striking a balance between the need to have wolves and the needs of society, both economic and social.

Wolf depredation on deer, hunting dogs, livestock and pets has been causing an uproar for years. The population is nearly three times higher than the goal established by the Department of Natural Resources.

The wolf population didn’t expand last year, staying at around 950 animals. That’s probably because frustrated property owners and hunters are taking matters into their own hands, seeing no light at the end of the federal “no management” tunnel.

For those who didn’t notice, there has been a consistent pattern over the years of liberal organizations using wildlife to further their causes — whether it’s anti-hunting, anti-logging, pro-wilderness or some other cause.

They used the spotted owl and the Endangered Species Act to severely impact logging in western states, which hurt industry and sound forest management.

The alligator is still on the threatened list though officials estimate the nation’s population at one million animals.

Pro-wilderness groups have used the pileated woodpecker, gray wolf, red-shouldered hawk, pine marten, scarlet tanager and others to push their agenda. But their claims about these animals needing wilderness to survive were totally overblown.

Advocates of the current Endangered Species Act are saying eagles wouldn’t have made a comeback without it, but I’m not totally buying that. A ban on the pesticide DDT improved egg quality and nesting success, and slowly the numbers rebounded. Most of the white pines we “protected” for nesting near shorelines couldn’t legally be cut anyway.

They argued for years that eagles wouldn’t or couldn’t nest near human disturbances, and nest sites were heavily protected. But eagles nest quite often on private property near homes, and near incredible amounts of boat traffic — seemingly without problems.

This is the first time that Americans have seen an orchestrated effort by the president, Republican leaders in the House, industry and the Interior Department  to revise the act.

Opponents of the act say the current mood is simply the fruition of decades of ignored attempts to enact reasonable modifications to the law — for instance, government compensation to offset losses when landowners are unable to use portions of their property deemed critical habitat.

America needs an Endangered Species Act to protect wildlife from extinction. But we don’t need an act that can never be modified to provide reasonable exceptions that won’t end in the termination of a species.

Like the wolves of Wisconsin, which are by no means endangered or threatened, we need the ability to protect a species without going totally overboard.

Experts with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are entirely qualified to protect gray wolves from once again disappearing.

They don’t need the intervention of federal judges to get the job done. That’s why the Endangered Species Act needs to be revised.