Legislation was introduced on Jan. 10 in Congress to strip federal protections from wolves in the Great Lakes region and Wyoming.
With language preventing any further judicial review, the bill would overrule two court decisions that found the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrongly removed Endangered Species Act protections for the wolf.
“The new Congress is the most extreme and anti-wolf our country has ever seen, and members wasted no time in attacking endangered wildlife,” said Collette Adkins, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This bill promises to undo hard-earned progress toward gray wolf recovery that has taken years to achieve. Without federal protection hundreds of wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan will once again suffer and die every year.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes region — Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota — in 2011 and in Wyoming in 2012.
Federal judges have overturned agency decisions for prematurely removing protections, failing to follow the requirements of the federal Endangered Species Act and ignoring the best available science.
Since the 2011 passage of a rider abolishing wolf protections in the northern Rocky Mountains, there have been dozens of legislative attacks on wolves in Congress, according to the CBD. The bill introduced this week is the first introduced in the 115th Congress.
“Wolf recovery should be allowed to follow a course prescribed by science, not politics,” Adkins said. “This shameful meddling is harmful to wolves, harmful to science and harmful to our democratic processes.”
The bill has bipartisan sponsorship. It was introduced by U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., Sean Duffy, R-Wis. and Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
Similar bills have passed the House but failed to clear the Senate and White House. But that was when the Senate and White House were in Democratic control.
CBD said the bill’s chances are considered better in 2017, when Republicans will control the House, Senate and White House.
For the record
Wayne Pacelle, president & CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, wrote about the issue on his blog for The HSUS. An excerpt:
With Republican majorities in both chambers, and with the Trump administration likely to actively support trophy hunting, this is a perilous moment for wolves.
In order to retain federal protections for them, we’ll need a massive outpouring of concern from citizens to their lawmakers. If they are delisted, we can expect more than 500 of the 5,000 wolves in the lower 48 to be shot, trapped, snared, and even chased by packs of hounds this coming fall and winter.
Please call your U.S. representative and U.S. senators and urge them to oppose any delisting bills or amendments or riders in Congress because they subvert judicial review and fly in the face of science that shows wolves are not adequately recovered to remove protections and turn management over to states that have pledged to immediately begin killing them again.
Your comments on the grizzly bear delisting proposal have enormously influenced decision makers, and now it’s time to speak up loudly and in overwhelming numbers for the wolves.
The entire blog is here.