Bipartisan gray wolf delisting bill introduced by Enzi, Barrasso

WYOMING — US Senators Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced bipartisan legislation Thursday that would delist the gray wolf in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and allow wolf management plans based on federal and state wildlife expertise to move forward without legal ambiguity.

“Wyoming has clearly demonstrated that a state can manage the gray wolf population successfully,” Barrasso said. “States have the expertise and know how to best manage wildlife populations.”

Enzi also is eager to see responsibility for management of wolves play out in scientific scenarios close to home rather than political courtrooms far from Wyoming.

“States have the best understanding for how to manage wolves in their areas,” Enzi said. “This bill would allow that to happen without continued interference from the courts. Wyoming has been dealing with this issue for decades. I trust local wildlife managers to manage wildlife better than those in Washington thousands of miles away.”

The bill’s lead sponsor Johnson said, “Gray wolf listing decisions should come from state wildlife experts, not partisan federal judges. As the Interior Department moves forward with its rule to delist the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act, the process will inevitably be tied up in the courts by activists who want Wisconsin’s wolves to remain protected so their numbers and territory can continue to expand. Congress should pass legislation to allow certain states and tribes to move forward with wolf population management plans without legal ambiguity, and I’m pleased my bill has bipartisan support to do just that.”

In late 2014, a judge in Washington, DC overruled a management plan for the gray wolf agreed to by the Department of the Interior and several states, returning the gray wolf to the endangered species list.

A brief explanation of the issue from the US Fish and Wildlife Service can be found on the agency’s website.

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