Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bill would remove federal protections for wolves in 4 Western states

U.S. Rep. Reed Ribble (Wisc.) is leading the effort to remove federal court protections for wolves in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Wyoming. Co-sponsors of the bill include U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson (Minn.), Dan Benishek (Mich.) and Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.). 

The legislation is in response to a ruling by a federal judge in Washington, D.C., last month that threw out an Obama administration decision to "delist" wolves in the western Great Lakes region, where the combined wolf population is estimated at around 3,700. That followed a similar decision by a different federal judge in September that stripped Wyoming of its wolf management authority and returned that state's wolves to federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. 

Ribble's bill uses a strategy that succeeded in taking wolves in Idaho and Montana off the endangered list after court challenges by environmentalists blocked those efforts. Congress took matters into its own hands in 2011 and lifted the federal protections for wolves in those two states, which then allowed hunting and trapping to resume. 

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