U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) won passage of an amendment which would strip federal protection for endangered gray wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes states onto the so-called Sportsmen’s Act in Congress (.S. 659).
Barrassos’ amendment mirrors a bill he recently introduced with Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) and would subvert two federal court rulings, legislatively removing wolves from the federal list of endangered species for purely political reasons. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) also secured an amendment to block a proposed new rule from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which would limit predator control in national wildlife refuges. This proposed rule, which I encourage you to support here, would stop the worst predator control and killing practices on national wildlife refuges in Alaska, such as brown bear baiting, and aerial gunning of wolves.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stripped federal protections from gray wolves in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota in 2011 and in Wyoming in 2012, marking the beginning of nothing less of a bloodbath. For example, last summer the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced its annual wolf population survey numbers which revealed that almost 100 wolf packs (25 percent) were eliminated from 2014 to early 2015. Minnesota’s wolf population is now down to nearly 1988 levels. Another example of poor governance was seen when in 2011 a policy rider (the first time legislation has ever removed ESA protections for a species) on a key appropriations bill, stripped Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Montana and Idaho. In the three years that followed, more than 1,956 wolves had been killed in just these the two states. Should this shameful “Sportsmen’s Act” pass into law, Barrasso’s amendment would circumvent the usual delisting process, effectively remove federal protection from gray wolves, and ensure that this decision could not be challenged in federal court.
Politicians should not be injecting themselves (with stand alone bills, amendments or riders on must pass legislation) into what should be science based decisions.
Political greed should never prevail over sound science. Please contact your congressional members and be a voice for the voiceless, be a voice for the gray wolf.
Tell Congress that you #StandForWolves and oppose any legislation that would remove protections for wolves. Tap the links to each bill (below) to oppose via Popvox, or, if you rather, oppose them via democracy.io, here. Please note: If you have already opposed these bills, please voice your opposition again via democracy.io which allows you to comment on legislation more than once. At the end of this blog post you will find my comments in opposition to these bills. Feel free to utilize my information in your comment, and please join our facebook event and tweetstorm.
Senator Johnson has also added a wolf delisting amendment to this bill as well. Please oppose and find newly added comment against this legislation at end:
*Related Bills (Legislative action may be occurring on one of these bills in lieu of or in parallel to action on this bill).
S. 405 Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015
H.R. 2406 SHARE Act (house version of the Senate Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act)
Please sign and share the following petitions:
This petition must be signed by February 9th: TELL CONGRESS: KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF OUR WOLVES
Help shut down Congress’ sneak attack on wolves via NRDC: Sign this
Protect Wolves from Congressional Attacks via Endangered Species Coalition: bit.ly/1hUjF1e Sign this
Protect the ESA From Political Attacks via Earthjustice: bit.ly/1fKGOSn Sign this
Opposition to bills:
Opposition to S. 659:
I oppose S. 659, The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, which is comprised of numerous, irresponsible, pro-hunting and anti-environment regulations, and represents a clear assault on wildlife. This omnibus bill combines many bad bills related to environmental resources into one. There are several problematic portions with dire implications for wildlife and the ecosystems they need in order to thrive. This bill panders to special interests and sacrifices smart conservation policy for political cache with damaging anti-wildlife “poison pill” amendments including a provision which would strip Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes region and a provision prohibiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from blocking anti-predator measures proposed by the State of Alaska for bears, wolves and other carnivores on national wildlife refuges in that state.
S. 659 would permanently exempt lead fishing tackle from any regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Lead is an extremely toxic substance that is dangerous to people and wildlife at any level. Lead (a potent and dangerous neurotoxin) found in fishing tackle as well as ammunition is the cause for an estimated 10-20 million animal deaths each year in the United States after ingesting lead shot, bullet fragments, and sport fishing waste. Another abhorrent provision of the bill would allow for approximately 40 polar bear trophies to be imported into the United States. When polar bears were protected under the Endangered Species Act in 2008, all import of polar bear hunting trophies was prohibited. Despite having 16 months of notice of the impending prohibition, a number of hunters went forward with hunts anyway. The hunters were given repeated warnings that trophy imports would likely not be allowed into the United States as of the date the species was formally designated as “threatened.” If this legislation is enacted, it will accelerate the pace of killing of any species proposed for listing in the future.
These are just several of the horrific provisions of this bill, which would destroy years of work done by animal protection advocates, environmentalists, and conservationists to protect endangered species and other wildlife. Such blind dedication to implementing recreational killing is detrimental to both conservation efforts and goes against the wishes of the majority of Americans, and their desire to protect the wilderness and wildlife. This is yet another disgraceful bill which I oppose.
Opposition to S 2281:
I oppose S. 2281. The future of the American gray wolf may become very grim as the war against the wolf continues with Congress’ aggressive, officious interference in wolf conservation with proposed legislation that undermines the Endangered Species Act. Politicians should not be injecting themselves into what should be a science-based decision. S.2281 and would reverse court orders, wiping out Endangered Species Act protection for approximately 4,000 wolves that live in four states (Wyoming and the western Great Lakes states). The energies of politicians would be better spent on pragmatic efforts that help people learn how to live with large carnivores. We must learn to respect, rebuild and conserve ecosystems not just by simple fixes, such as reintroducing species, but by finding ways to mitigate the conflicts that originally caused their loss. This bill serves as the Senate companion to the bipartisan House bill introduced by Reps. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) earlier this year and would “allow the Great Lakes states to continue the effective work they are doing in managing wolf populations without tying the hands of the Fish and Wildlife Service or undermining the Endangered Species Act”, yet the horrific slaughter of wolves directly after delisting in Wisconsin was an abomination. One would indeed call it “effective work” if the goal was to extirpate the wolves. In Wisconsin, the population of wolves was just 800 in 2011, yet in a matter of three years (since delisting), Wisconsin has lost at least 518 wolves to legalized hunting, hounding, trapping and annual unenforced quota overkills. The 518 wolves killed does not include wolves killed at the request of livestock operators for “depredation control” (170) or wolves killed on roadways every year (25). In addition, it is difficult for agency staff to estimate how many wolves are poached, which is estimated, conservatively at 100 a year. Considering annual wolf pup mortality at up to 75 percent, and the human take of wolves (in Wisconsin), this has been a disaster of catastrophic proportions. Hardly a wolf management plan integrating the “best available science”. This moral bankruptcy and ineptness is not a way to treat a species recently removed from the ESA. I vehemently oppose this and any other legislation that would remove protections for wolves.
Opposition to HR 843 and HR 884:
Politicians should not inject themselves into what should be a science-based decision. Please oppose anti-wolf Legislation HR 843 / HR 884 and oppose all efforts in this Congress to remove existing federal protections for wolves. The energies of politicians would be better spent on pragmatic efforts that help people learn how to live with large carnivores. In the long run, we will conserve ecosystems not just by simple fixes, such as reintroducing species, but by finding ways to mitigate the conflicts that originally caused their loss. Adversaries of wolf protective legislation continue their court battles against the wolves, but now those on the side of the wolves have an important weapon in their arsenal — the restoration of entire ecosystems (even if such benefits are not immediately obvious). The loss of major predators in forest ecosystems has allowed game animal populations to greatly increase, crippling the growth of young trees and reducing biodiversity. This also contributes to deforestation and results in less carbon sequestration, a potential concern with climate change. The Endangered Species Act requires science-based standards, not politics, for adding or removing protections from a particular species, but recently Congress has used must-pass bills to dodge this process. Any congressional initiative to remove Endangered Species Act protection from wolves (including via riders) must be denied. This species is endangered in most of the nation and needs continued protection to survive and recover. After three decades of federal protection, and painstaking efforts by federal biologists, gray wolves are just beginning to reestablish stable populations, with the obvious and overwhelming support of the majority of the American public. With the safety net of the Endangered Species Act, the wolf was able to return to portions of its native range in the Lower Forty-Eight. However, although wolves have recovered in some states, the North American population as a whole is nowhere near its historic range and thus merits continued federal protection. Judges have repeatedly overturned rules stripping wolves of their federal protection — with barely over 10 percent of suitable wolf habitat currently occupied and almost constant threats to their safety, these apex predators still desperately need the Act’s protection to survive. Wolves are essential.
Opposition to HR 1985:
I oppose H.R. 1985 The Pacific Northwest Gray Wolf Management Act. States are not “fully qualified to manage wolves responsibly”. Removing protections for wolves is not “long overdue.” Mismanagement of wolves in Representative Newhouses’ state is a prime example for maintaining protection for this species: *Washington state wildlife commission adopted rules violating the wolf plan regarding when wolves can be killed. *One entire pack of wolves, the Wedge Pack, was destroyed by the State of Washington in 2012 in response to allegations of depredation of livestock. This was in violation of Washington’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. The actions by the state did not prevent future depredations in the area. That decision-making process and aerial hunt was an absolute dreadful disgrace. *In 2013 an emergency rule went into effect allowing ranchers to kill wolves without a permit if they attack pets or livestock. This was also in violation of the wolf plan. *The state wildlife agency’s efforts to kill members of the Huckleberry pack for livestock losses was an abomination. The state failed to undertake sufficient nonlethal deterrence measures to prevent conflicts with livestock in this pack’s territory. *WDFW hired “sharpshooter” (hired to “remove” younger pack members) took out the breeding female of the Huckleberry Pack. Losing the alpha female harmed the survival of that wolf pack with pups just several months old. *Washington’s management plan sets a target of 15 known breeding pairs (with at least three located in each region of the state) as the point when the species can be considered recovered. Currently, the state has only five or six known breeding pairs. *At least three wolves were illegally killed by poachers in Washington in 2014. Therefore, one would say Washington state is far from “fully qualified to manage gray wolf populations responsibly”. Utah has no wolves beyond a few spotted over the years to remove protections from. The populations of wolves in Oregon is small and still in the early stages of recovery.
Update January 30th: Oppose S 2012:
(The anti wolf amendment was added to this bill January 28th)
I oppose S.2012. This bill includes provisions that would undermine important environmental standards and long-standing and popular public protections. The bill fails to do enough to mitigate the threat of climate change and contains some provisions that weaken protections for our land, air, water and public health. S. 2012 also contains an amendment which would delist wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming which I oppose. Once again, Politicians should not inject themselves into what should be science based decisions.
Thankyou for your support, feel free to use the above comments for a message to your Congressional members.
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