Tuesday, June 9, 2015
House Bill Rider Takes Aim at Wolves in Wyoming & Great Lakes
Do you remember when Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) successfully delisted wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountain states in 2011? It was the first time in history when a species was removed from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) via an act of Congress (law) rather than federally mandated scientific analysis. To add insult to injury, the bill also stipulated that the action would not be subject to judicial review thus prohibiting any legal challenge.
Now history appears to be repeating itself.
Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today to fund the Interior Department will once again allow Congress to circumvent the scientific procedure for species delisting - a move which undermines the ESA and science.
Buried in the fiscal 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill in Section 121, is language directing the Secretary of the Interior to reissue the two wolf delisting rules that federal courts found illegal under the ESA. In September of 2014, federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated after a federal judge invalidated the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) delisting of wolves in that state. In December of 2014, federal protections were also reinstated for wolves in the western Great Lakes region after another federal judge invalidated USFWS’s delisting of wolves in that area. And just like the delisting rider in 2011, Section 121 includes “no judicial review” clauses.
Policy decisions about wolves and other wildlife should be based on the best SCIENCE, not politics.