Wolf delisting bill introduced
by press release/Congressional Western Caucus
December 6, 2010
U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and seven Congressional Western Caucus colleagues joined together to introduce the State Sovereignty Wildlife Management Act. The legislation returns management authority of gray wolves to the states and removes the gray wolf from the endangered species list respectively.
Unmanaged wolf populations pose a serious threat to key wildlife species throughout the West. Wildlife officials in many states have attributed declines in their big game herds to the unchecked growth of wolf packs. The State Sovereignty Wildlife Management Act would improve the balance of both wolf and prey populations by allowing individual states to develop management plans that address their unique needs.
In states where gray wolves exist, wildlife resource agencies and their personnel will develop successful management programs that will ensure the long-term health and vitality of wildlife populations throughout the West. However, in order to implement these programs, the wolf must be delisted as an endangered or threatened species.
"The Fish and Wildlife Service’s goal to recover wolves in Wyoming was met long ago. Wolves are thriving, but Wyoming’s ranchers and large game herds are taking a hit – the Gros Ventre moose herd, for example, has been decimated. All the while Washington stands idly by, and activist courts continually move the goal posts. Instead of waiting for Washington to fulfill its end of the bargain by delisting the wolf, it’s time the states take things into their own hands. Our experts in Wyoming are best suited to manage wolves in our state," said Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis.
"State and local wildlife management agencies and their personnel have proven capable of managing and preserving gray wolf populations. In fact, thanks to their efforts, the gray wolf is thriving throughout the West," said Western Caucus Chairman Rob Bishop. "The federal government needs to get out of the way and allow the knowledgeable experts to begin implementation of programs designed to meet the unique and individual needs of their state’s wildlife. I have the utmost confidence that, with this legislation, states will be able to successfully manage each wolf population and ensure their long-term health and viability."
"Returning wolf management to the states isn’t a partisan issue that pits Republicans against Democrats. It’s about state’s rights. After holding hearings in Montana and reading thousands of comments, it’s clear that folks in Western states like Montana are sick and tired of powerful environmental interest groups funded out of places like San Francisco and New York telling us how to manage our lands, resources and wildlife," said Congressman Denny Rehberg.
"State wildlife agencies are in the best position to manage wildlife, not judges. They know the geography, habitat, and what it takes for native wildlife populations to thrive. Allowing extreme environmentalists to dictate wildlife management and abuse the Endangered Species Act is bad for wildlife, property rights, and people. State wildlife agencies should not be prevented by activist judges or Washington bureaucrats from doing their job," said Congressman Dean Heller.
"Judge Malloy’s decision to put wolves back on the endangered species list is wreaking havoc in Idaho," said Congressman Mike Simpson. "It is frustrating to me that some people persist in acting as though the end goal in this process is to simply keep wolves on the endangered species list instead of to recover the species so that it can be properly managed by the states. It is clear that wolf recovery has exceeded goals and expectations and that Idaho’s state management plan has proven effective, and we need to act now to restore the states’ authority to manage these animals."
"The federal government must allow states to manage wolf populations. Recent court rulings signal judicial support for state management plans," said Congressman Jason Chaffetz. "Now is the time for Congress to act. Wolf populations have grown significantly since first receiving protection under the Endangered Species Act. It is appropriate to have the wolf delisted at this time. The states are better equipped to manage and maintain recovered wolf populations."
The following Western Caucus Members joined in introducing the bill:
Rep. Rob Bishop (UT-01)
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (WY-At Large)
Rep. Denny Rehberg (MT-At Large)
Rep. Mike Simpson (ID-02)
Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-02)
Rep. Wally Herger (CA-02)
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT-03)
Rep. Dean Heller (NV-02)