The Public Lands Council (PLC), National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), and American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) praised the passage of H.R. 6784, the Manage our Wolves Act. The Act requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to remove the gray wolf from federal protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Similar action was initially proposed by the FWS under the Obama Administration in 2011 and 2012. Prior to today’s vote, PLC, NCBA, and ASI, along with 37 additional livestock and agriculture organizations, sent a letter support for the bill to House leadership.
“Since 2011, the best scientific and commercial data available has supported removing gray wolves from the List of Threatened and Endangered Species,” said NCBA President Kevin Kester. “It is encouraging to see the House of Representatives take this important step to make the Endangered Species Act work the way it was intended.”
In addition to requiring the FWS to reissue the Obama-era rules, H.R. 6784 would require further rulemaking to remove ESA protections for gray wolves across the contiguous United States. Current and emerging science continues to find that wolf populations have been fully recovered nationwide.
“We are pleased this bipartisan effort to remedy a critical issue impacting livestock producers across the country was successful in the House of Representatives,” said ASI President Mike Corn. “We urge the Senate to take quick action on this bill and stand ready to help ensure final passage.”
PLC President Bob Skinner noted that if the ESA process was working as originally intended, species-specific legislation like H.R. 6784 would not be necessary.
“We are grateful to see a vote on this legislation, but the bill itself speaks to the need to modernize the Endangered Species Act,” said Skinner. “Activists should not be allowed to abuse technicalities in the judicial system to force a relisting – especially when sound science and hard data clearly illustrate that it is time for these wolves to come off the list.”
H.R. 6784 passed the House of Representatives on a bipartisan basis.
In 2011 and 2012 respectively, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under President Obama issued final rules to remove gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes (76 FR 81666) and Wyoming (77 FR 55530) from federal protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This decision was informed by the best scientific and commercial data available, but activist litigants used the judicial system to circumvent sound science and restore full ESA protections to these predators. While listed under the ESA, wolves cannot be properly managed by state wildlife agencies, who best know how to balance healthy ecosystems with the needs of local communities and changing conditions on the ground.