Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wolves may be off endangered species list – again

Catharine Richert
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are pushing to take Minnesota’s gray wolves off the endangered species list.

Buried in the fiscal 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill is language that would effectively require the secretary of the interior to reissue a federal rule that took gray wolves in the western Great Lakes, which includes Minnesota, off the list.

The bill also stipulates that the action would not be subject to judicial review.

Last year, a federal court decided that Minnesota’s gray wolves should be put back on the endangered species list.

U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., said the provision amounts to “tremendous overreach” because the appropriations bill is meant to fund the Interior Department’s activities, not direct policy decisions.

“The judicial branch exists to provide oversight and review of our nation’s laws, and the idea that this Republican appropriations bill would try to circumvent that constitutionally critical process is wrong,” McCollum said.

McCollum, a Democrat, is on the House Appropriations Committee, and serves as the top Democrat on a subcommittee in charge of the interior and environment funding bill. Work on the legislation starts this week.

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