Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) joined Congressman Matt Rosendale and seven other Members of Congress in a letter calling out the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for announcing it will be conducting a 12-month comprehensive status review to potentially relist the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act, despite robust state-led efforts to manage the species and a finding in October of 2020 that federal listing was no longer appropriate due to a full recovery of the species.
Rep. Boebert stated: “Radical special-interest groups are wasting resources by forcing the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct reviews of a species that is thriving and already fully recovered. This move is extremist enviros’ first step to relist gray wolves as an endangered species and reinstate the federal government’s one-size-fits-all micromanagement of our farmers, ranchers, and state and local officials. Bureaucrats in D.C. shouldn’t interfere with local conservation efforts that are more than capable of managing the species effectively while also protecting livestock. An Endangered Species Act designation is not in the best interests of Colorado.”
Last year, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced the delisting of the gray wolf from the ESA, citing their successful recovery after more than 45 years of being listed as an endangered species. State and tribal wildlife management agencies assumed responsibility from the federal government for sustainable management of gray wolf populations. The decision was based on the best scientific and commercial data available and the proven track records of states and tribes in managing healthy wolf populations.
At over 6,000 wolves in the lower 48 states at the time of delisting, the gray wolf has been the latest in a strong list of ESA recoveries with populations in the northern Rocky Mountains and across the mountain West and western Great Lakes regions. Gray wolf populations have been managed responsibly by state and tribal efforts since their delisting.
Troublingly, the Biden administration recently said that federal regulations may need to be restored in the western U.S., citing concerns that state laws protecting farmers and ranchers may harm the gray wolf population.
The full text of the letter Rep. Boebert, Congressman Matt Rosendale, and seven other Members of Congress sent to the USFWS is below:
We write to you today in response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) announcement that they have completed the initial review of two petitions filed to list gray wolves in the western United States under the Endangered Species Act—and that USFWS will be initiating a 12-month comprehensive status review of the gray wolf.
State-run and private conservation efforts have been shown to be more than adequate in managing gray wolves at sustainable levels since de-listing and gray wolf populations in the areas designated by these petitions—such as Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming—have far exceeded the federal management objectives of 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs per state. There are currently an estimated 3,000 gray wolves in the Rocky Mountain states: 1,556 in Idaho, 1,117 in Montana, and 327 in Wyoming. Each of these states have far exceeded their population goals.
On October 29th, 2020, USFWS released a statement that “the gray wolf population in the lower 48 states is more than 6,000 wolves, greatly exceeding the combined recovery goals for the Northern Rocky Mountains and Western Great Lakes populations.” It seems strange that in under a year, the situation could change enough to warrant this comprehensive status review.
Furthermore, many of the organizations that have submitted these petitions have long been known for frivolous litigation and radical environmental activism. Petitions introduced by these organizations are rarely introduced in good faith with a goal of sound wildlife management, but rather to further an extreme political agenda at the behest of environmentalist ideologues.
We hope that in the upcoming status review, USFWS will follow all the relevant science, not just the concerns of serial litigants who would like to see the gray wolf permanently listed under the Endangered Species Act—regardless of the massive strides we have made in the restoration and management of the gray wolf population in the western United States.
We look forward to working with you on this important issue for the West.