To: The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate
Keep Expanding Wolf Populations Protected
Oppose any bills that would strip Endangered Species Act protections from expanding wolf populations.
Why is this important?
In September, 2014, federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated after a federal judge invalidated the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (FWS) delisting of wolves in that state. In December, 2014, federal protections were also reinstated for wolves in the western Great Lakes region—including Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin—after another federal judge invalidated FWS’s delisting of wolves in that area.
Wildlife management decisions should be based on the best available science, not politics. If Congress delists wolves from the Endangered Species Act, it would completely undermine one of our nation’s bedrock environmental laws—a law that Americans rely on as a safety net for our nation’s wildlife, plants, birds, insects, and fish.
We have just begun to recover wolves in parts of the United States. This recovery effort has had some great successes, as we now have populations in the northern Rockies and the western Great Lakes region. But it is too soon to take wolves off the endangered species list, as multiple courts have confirmed. There is suitable habitat in numerous states where wolves have not yet reestablished populations. Continued federal protections are essential to allow existing populations to stabilize and expand to other suitable habitat.
This is not just about the wolf – there are broader implications for the Endangered Species Act, as well. The Act is one of our most effective and important environmental laws, supported by nearly 85 percent of Americans. Unfortunately, the 2011 appropriations rider that delisted wolves in Idaho, Montana, and in parts of Washington, Oregon, and Utah, set a terrible precedent and rendered the Endangered Species Act vulnerable to other congressional attacks. Since the 2011 wolf rider, we’ve seen an uptick in bills and riders that undermine or block protections under the Act for particular species, along with other types of proposals to weaken the Act. We must not allow further “death by a thousand cuts” erosion of this bedrock environmental law.