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Center for Biological Diversity:
Restoring the Gray Wolf
House bill proposes moving wolves off endangered list
By John Meyers
A provision deep inside an Interior Department funding bill advancing in the U.S. House would remove Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the Great Lakes area as well as Wyoming.
The provision, called a rider, was included in the bill as it was introduced Tuesday.
Wolves in the western Great Lakes area — Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan — were removed from federal protections in 2011 after their numbers rebounded.
But a December federal court order placed wolves back under federal care, ending state-sanctioned hunting and trapping seasons.
The new legislation would give wolf management back to states and tribes and end federal protections.
The current effort is similar to a 2011 bill that delisted wolves in Montana despite court action. That bill passed and was signed into law.
Wolf advocacy groups railed against the provision, saying Congress should stay out of the science of wildlife management.
"This is another cynical attack on science and the Endangered Species Act that will result in wolves being mindlessly slaughtered in the few places where they have begun to recover," said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity.
The new bill also prohibits the federal government from taking any further action to protect endangered sage grouse in western states.
Several Minnesota lawmakers have said they would support legislation to remove federal wolf protections.