The U.S. House has voted for an amendment to the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2015 that would strip wolves of federal existing protections in Wyoming, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The amendment, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Reid Ribble of Wisconsin, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Dan Benishek of Michigan, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota, would override two federal court decisions that found these states’ management plans do not sufficiently protect wolves.
The legislation would return wolf management to states whose management plans have explicitly been deemed insufficient by federal courts. The wolf delisting amendment further includes a clause precluding further judicial review of the removal of federal protections for wolves in the states at issue.
Drew Caputo, Earthjustice vice-president of litigation for Oceans, Lands and Wildlife, said in a statement, “This is an unfortunate day for wolves. If enacted, this legislation could prove devastating for the recovery of wolves in the continental United States. What’s at stake here is whether wolves in Wyoming and in the Great Lakes will again face the same unregulated killing that nearly wiped them out in the first place."
He continued, “Further, this vote by the U.S. House of Representatives is a crack at the very foundation of the Endangered Species Act, a law that has a 99 percent success rate at pulling species back from the brink of extinction. Ninety percent of Americans from across the political spectrum support the Act. If we continue down this slippery slope, we could end up in a world where our children or grandchildren might never again see a bald eagle, or a breaching whale, or hear the cry of a wolf in the wild.”