Led by Representatives Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Collin Peterson (D-MN), 34 bipartisan Members of Congress signed on to a letter strongly supporting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed rule to delist the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act in the lower 48 states. The letter was sent to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and USFWS Principal Deputy Director Margaret Everson.
“The gray wolf should be considered a success story of the Endangered Species Act,” said Newhouse in a joint press release with Peterson. “Federally delisting the gray wolf will allow Washington state to implement the comprehensive wolf management plan that will give relief to farmers, ranchers, and communities that are affected by growing wolf populations. It is time to listen to the experts and scientists who have determined the gray wolf is no longer endangered or threatened and give power back to the states.”
“The delisting of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is something I’ve been working on for a long time,” said Peterson. “Scientific research clearly shows that the gray wolf population in this country has recovered, especially in the state of Minnesota. State agencies are better equipped to manage wolf populations and should have been doing so years ago.”
Newhouse and Peterson have worked together on delisting the wolf previously. On Nov. 16, 2018 their legislation, Manage Our Wolves Act, passed the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Congressional letter of support for delisting will be submitted as an official public comment to the proposed rule. The USFWS announced the proposed rule this past March with a comment period to end May 14, 2019. The deadline was extended to July 15, 2019.
In addition to the comment period extension, the USFWS will hold one or more public hearings on the proposed rule.
SCI is currently preparing comments on behalf of our members. The comments submitted by SCI will include scientific and legal information that will help the USFWS make its delisting decision.
The public comment period will now close at midnight July 15, 2019.
Instructions on how to submit comments are provided at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket Number: FWS-HQ-ES-2018-0097. The Federal Register notice provides additional detailed information on how the public can submit written comments and information.
More information is available online at: https://www.fws.gov/home/wolfrecovery/.