Friday, March 6, 2015

Congressmen Raúl M. Grijalva, Peter DeFazio Lead 78 Members in Urging #Wolf Protections

Mar 4, 2015
Press Release 
 
Letter Calls on Interior Secretary to Change Course, Use Best Science
 
Washington, D.C. – House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), joined by 76 other members of the House of Representatives, sent a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today asking her to support a petition to downlist the gray wolf from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) rather than removing ESA protections entirely. The letter is available at http://1.usa.gov/1ENHsbb.

A peer review of the delisting rule for gray wolves in the lower 48 states found that the rule was not based on the best available science. Two separate courts recently vacated scientifically unsound rules that had delisted wolves in Wyoming and the Western Great Lakes region.

“I strongly support this Administration’s efforts to protect and conserve endangered species because the Fish and Wildlife Service backs up its decisions and actions with the best science,” Grijalva said. “Unfortunately, I fear that’s not the case this time. Gray wolves are still subject to intense persecution where they are not protected. They currently inhabit only five percent of their historical range and are clearly still threatened with extinction. This downlisting is the right way to make sure they get the continued legal protection they need.”

“The recovering gray wolf populations are encouraging, but their progress is fragile at best,” DeFazio said. “Allowing states to declare open season on wolves would roll back decades of science-based planning, not to mention significant federal, state and local resources. I urge Secretary Jewell to play an active role in keeping protections in place.”

The petition filed by the Humane Society of the United States and a number of other conservation groups presents a scientifically and legally defensible path forward on wolf management under the ESA, downlisting the species to threatened status rather than removing all protections. This approach allows states more flexibility in managing wolves while also ensuring that wolves are allowed to recover where there is suitable habitat.