Legislation Would Halt Wolf Recovery Nationwide Including Southwest’s Mexican Wolves, California’s Fledgling Population
WASHINGTON— House Republicans introduced a funding bill today for the Department of the Interior that would end all federal protections for wolves in the Great Lakes region and freeze federal wolf recovery efforts across the country, including those in California (where there are just two wolf packs) and for the Southwest’s Mexican gray wolf, of which only 113 individuals are alive in the wild.
The proposal cuts the budget for Interior by 3 percent, less than originally proposed by the Trump administration.
“House Republicans are waging a despicable war on wolves and other species trying to escape extinction,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “You don’t need to kill wolves to keep the federal government running — this is nothing more than a giveaway to special interests that would dismantle the Endangered Species Act.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed protections for gray wolves found in the western Great Lakes region in 2011. In the two years that followed, nearly 1,500 gray wolves were killed, mainly from hunting and trapping. In 2014 a federal judge found that the Service had prematurely removed federal protections, failed to follow the requirements of the Endangered Species Act and failed to follow the best available science. The rider in the proposed budget bill would overturn that decision and preclude further judicial review.
The second rider would prohibit the federal government from spending any money on gray wolves in other parts of the country where they still remain protected by the Endangered Species Act. This provision would not end federal protections, but it would completely halt wolf recovery by the federal government.
“These riders are cynical, undemocratic and undermine the integrity of the Endangered Species Act,” said Hartl. “Republicans like to claim that they want to recover endangered species, but their actions here prove that they are just as happy to push endangered species over the edge to extinction.”
Since January congressional Republicans have introduced 35 attacks against the Endangered Species Act or particular endangered species. Since the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 2011, more than 271 attacks have been launched. These attacks continue despite the fact that nine out of 10 Americans support the Endangered Species Act and want it either strengthened or left unchanged by Congress, according to a 2015 poll.