Rule Animal Animal Congress Endangered Species Act Threats to Grizzlies and Wolves

Congress Endangered Species Act Threats to Grizzlies and Wolves

Today, the Natural Resources Committee of the US House of Representatives voted on six bills and resolutions threatening to repeal the protection of grizzlies and gray wolves and weaken the Endangered Species Act. This “miracle bag” of peril includes:

The Trust the Science Act, H.R. 764, would remove protection for gray wolves in the lower 48 states through the Endangered Species Act.

The Grizzly Bear State Management Act, H.R. 1245, would remove protection for grizzlies in the largest Population in the Yellowstone ecosystem through the Endangered Species Act.

The comprehensive grizzly bear management act, H.R. 1419, would remove the protection of grizzly bears in the population of the Northern Continental Divide ecosystem through the Endangered Species Act.

House Joint Resolution 29 would overturn a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision last year to protect the prairie chicken cub under the Endangered Species Act.

Joint House Resolution 46 would overturn last year’s joint decision by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US National Marine Fisheries Service to expand the habitat that the Endangered Species Act can protect in favor of endangered species.
House joint Resolution 49 would overturn last year’s preliminary decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the protection of the northern long-eared bat under the Endangered Species Act.

Joint House resolutions 29, 46 and 49 would cause significant damage to the Endangered Species Act by using the Congressional Review Act to repeal recent protections for endangered animals. The use of the Congressional Review Act in this way sets a peril precedent by essentially overturning the previous regulations of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US National Sea Fisheries Service and prohibiting agencies from adopting similar regulations without a future Act of Congress.

This type of public policy not only weakens our democratic processes; it puts terrible pressure on these endangered species. We have already seen the damage caused when Congress removes a Population from the Endangered Species Act’s List of Threatened and endangered species: since Congress ordered the US Fish and Wildlife Service to remove wolves from Montana and Idaho in 2011, thousands of wolves have been sitting there. If Law n° 764 is adopted, other states can adopt the same trophy hunting, trapping and population reduction programs that afflict the wolves of the Northern Rockies.

The grizzlies are in peril again when HR 1245 and HR 1419 pass by. In the early 1800s, this emblematic species stretched from northern Mexico to Alaska, and in the lower 48 states it numbered up to 50,000 individuals. But by the 1930s, the grizzlies had almost disappeared. There were only about 135 bears left when the species obtained the protection of the Endangered Species Act in 1975. With these protections, the number of grizzly bears has slowly recovered and they now live in small isolated subpopulations. However, there are still fewer than 2,000 individuals in the lower 48 states, so it is important that grizzlies retain their protection if they want to survive. If these protections disappear, it is likely that some states will rush to allow trophy hunting that targets them.

Not only would house resolutions 764, 1245 and 1419 open the door to hunting for trophies of endangered species, but they would also deprive these measures of judicial control and effectively deprive citizens of the right to challenge them in court, an essential feature of the control structure of our governmental system.

We expect the House of Representatives to consider these measures in the coming months abstimmt.Es so it’s time to take action to protect wolves, grizzlies and the Endangered Species Act, one of the few laws that remains very popular among the American public. The Endangered Species Act saved about 99% of its listed species from extinction, and it is thanks to this historic law that emblematic species such as the bald eagle, whose number had greatly decreased in the 1970s, still adorn our national landscape.

Contact your representatives in the house to urge them to oppose these and all other measures that reverse the progress of grizzly bears, wolves and other endangered wild animals that depend on the protection of endangered species for their survival.

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