ENDANGERED SPECIES

Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2013 17:05:

30 +0000 ENDANGERED SPECIES: 52 House members push for wolf protections Laura Petersen, E&E reporter Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 A coalition of House lawmakers is calling on the Fish and Wildlife Service to continue Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the Pacific Northwest, California, the southern Rocky Mountains and the Northeast. Wolves have already been delisted in the northern Rocky Mountains and the western Great Lakes. The lawmakers, led by Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), want to prevent protections from being lifted in the rest of the lower 48 states. The duo and 50 colleagues sent a letter to Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe this week asking that “the Service continue to protect wolves in the lower 48 states under the ESA.” “[W]e are concerned that the same prejudice towards wolves that led to their extirpation across nearly the entire coterminous United States is still present today and, not only is threatening to undo the gains achieved in the northern Rocky Mountains and western Great Lakes, but will prevent their recovery in additional areas,” the letter said. “We believe that federal protection continues to be necessary to ensure that wolf recovery is allowed to proceed in additional parts of the country.” The lawmakers are all Democrats except for Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.). Gray wolves in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and parts of Utah, Oregon and Washington were removed from the endangered species list by a congressional rider in May 2011. The Great Lakes population was also delisted in 2011 in a separate action by the Fish and Wildlife Service — a decision recently challenged in court by a coalition led by the Humane Society of the United States. The agency is reviewing the status of the gray wolf in the lower 48 states, according to the letter. If updated evidence shows the animals have recovered, FWS could propose removing them from the list. However, the Mexican gray wolf, which has struggled to recover, would most likely remain on the list. “A blanket national delisting of the gray wolf would be premature and would not be grounded in peer reviewed science,” the letter said. Since delisting, more than 1,700 of the 5,000 to 6,000 recovered wolves in the lower 48 have been killed, including many high-profile wolves from Yellowstone National Park, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Pete Obermueller

Legislative Director, Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis Executive Director, Congressional Western Caucus

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