Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017

Floor Speech

Date: July 13, 2016
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. RIBBLE. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, I would try to bring some clarity about the amendment, and I stand in opposition to this amendment.

We have heard a lot of hyperbole here this evening, but I want to try to set the record straight.

We cannot have it both ways. We can either have an Endangered Species Act and we can have the Fish and Wildlife Service and their scientists manage it, or we can get rid of it and just have the court do it.

So it appears that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, when things don't go the way they like by the Fish and Wildlife Service, they are fully supportive of the court system. When things don't go right in the court system, it appears, Mr. Chairman, that they are fully supportive of the Fish and Wildlife Service.

What I would prefer is that we protect the Endangered Species Act and the agency that was directed to manage it and to manage these rare populations or endangered species like the gray wolf.

In the 1990s--and I am from Wisconsin--there were only a handful of mating pairs of gray wolves in northern Wisconsin. Throughout the Great Lakes region today, there are 3,700 wolves in this area. It is an economically and ecologically unsustainable number.

The Fish and Wildlife Service rightly decided that the population had recovered and that their program to protect this species had been so completely successful that it was time to delist and turn the power back to the States to manage, which in fact they were doing, until a court decided that the Fish and Wildlife Service and the experts there protecting the Endangered Species Act just didn't get it right.

Well, we cannot have it both ways, Mr. Chair, and it is time that this Congress tells the courts what the laws are and how we want these things managed. What we are doing here in this bill and in the underlying language is protecting both the Endangered Species Act and the Fish and Wildlife Service scientists who are giving the proper jurisdiction to manage endangered species, including the gray wolf.