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Letter to the Hon. David Bernhardt - Newhouse, Peterson Lead Bipartisan Letter to Support ESA Delisting of Gray Wolf


Dear Secretary Bernhardt and Principal Deputy Director Everson:

We write to express our strong support for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's (USFWS) proposed rule, published March 15, 2019, titled "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removing the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife" (Docket No. FWS--HQ--ES--2018--0097). We urge you to move forward with the implementation of this proposed rule in an expeditious manner.

We fully understand and support the statutory purpose and intent of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). When the gray wolf was reclassified as "endangered" in 1978, the best available science was used to demonstrate the species was at risk for extinction. Now, we must use the best available science to delist the gray wolf and allow states to manage wolf populations at the local level.

Gray wolves can now be found across the United States and in nearly fifty countries around the world. We should acknowledge the scientific findings of USFWS and celebrate their recovery. State and local governments, tribes, and other stakeholders are best suited to develop effective, local management plans for gray wolf populations. We should be empowering them to do so -- not hindering them with unscientific, burdensome federal regulations.

In 2013, USFWS' review found gray wolf recovery goals had been achieved and proposed a rule to remove them from the endangered list. After objections from environmental groups, the effort to delist the species based on scientific evidence stalled and states were left with growing gray wolf populations that threaten agriculture and livestock, hunting and recreation, and other wildlife. We cannot let scientific findings fall victim to politically-motivated attacks. As the proposed rule demonstrates, the gray wolf is a success story of the ESA.

We understand that we have the responsibility to protect species across the country -- including the gray wolf -- and that these efforts to protect wildlife should be based on sound science and an open, transparent process. For these reasons, we support the proposed rule to delist the gray wolf from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and urge you to finalize this proposed rule swiftly.