WYOMING — This week, Gov. Mark Gordon and Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney shared their disapproval of the Biden administration’s announcement that federal protections may need to be restored for gray wolves in the western U.S.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that they will initiate a comprehensive status review of the gray wolf in the western U.S. Their initial determination is that the region’s wolves could again be in peril after decades of efforts spent restoring them.
However, both Gov. Gordon and Rep. Liz Cheney have taken issue with this decision, arguing that the federal government should not play a role in determining policy that pertains to Wyoming’s wildlife populations.
“Wyoming has managed wolves according to our plan, and that plan has been sufficient to satisfy wolf population targets while allowing producers to take appropriate measures to protect livestock,” Gov. Gordon said in a statement on Friday.
The Governor expressed that he is confident the review will find Wyoming’s wolf management program has been highly successful in meeting the state’s commitment to the long-term viability of wolves in Wyoming.
“We respect all state’s abilities to manage wildlife within their borders. This is just another example of a Federal action which attempts to usurp states’ authorities.”
Like Gordon, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney argued that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement exemplifies federal government overreach and stressed the importance of reforming the Endangered Species Act.
“Activists should not be able to take advantage of the ESA’s loopholes. We must update this law to prevent this from happening and ensure that local stakeholders and states, as opposed to the federal government, are calling the shots when it comes to these decisions,” Cheney said.
“I will continue to fight for needed reforms to the ESA to protect the people and interests of Wyoming.”
For background, in recent months, Republican governors in the West signed into law measures that expanded when, where and how wolves can be killed. These actions raised alarm among Democrats, former wildlife officials and advocacy groups that said increased hunting pressure could potentially cut wolf numbers to unsustainable levels.
Wilderness areas in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are strongholds for wolf populations, helping fuel their expansion in recent years into portions of Oregon, Washington state, California and Colorado.