“The conception that government should be guided by majority opinion makes sense only if that opinion is independent of government.” – Friedrich Hayek
Bills in the 115th Congress that would either incidentally remove protections for gray wolves, contain the “War on Wolves” language, or would be detrimental to the health of wolf populations:
S. 935 – Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act
This bill makes the following changes to the ESA:
• Immediately removes every species from the list of threatened and endangered species, including wolves.
• Requires congressional approval through a joint resolution before any species can be relisted as threatened or endangered.
• Automatically delists all protected species every five years, then requires the Secretary of Interior to consult with the Governor before submitting a list of species to Congress, which would have to be approved through a joint resolution for species to re-gain protections.
• Eliminates the citizen petition process to add species to the endangered species list.
• Undermines the ESA’s science-based nature by redefining “best scientific and commercial data” to include any scientific evidence made available by any State agency (regardless of the quality of the data).
“This legislation is so repugnant to the ESA’s stated purpose of conservation and recovery that it should be called the “Extinction Acceleration Act.” This bill would devastate endangered species conservation and almost certainly lead to more extinctions. It mandates the use of deficient and less sound scientific information, which could result in unscientific listing determinations for imperiled species. It creates bureaucratic red tape for species on the verge of extinction, and inappropriately injects politics into decisions that should be based on biology. Moreover, this bill undermines some of the most basic protections for citizens who seek to enforce the ESA and hold the government accountable. It also adds two totally unnecessary provisions to the ESA, neither of which do anything to benefit endangered species conservation”. (Defenders)
H.R. 2134 – Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act
This is the House version of S. 935, is equally abhorrent and is sponsored by Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO). Believe it or not the bill has 6 cosponsors.
S. 164 – Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017 (bipartisan)
Sponsor: Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Cosponsors: Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) Senator Michael B. Enzi (R-WY) Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
This bill reissues two of Fish & Wildlife Service’s final rules regarding gray wolves:
• The final rule on gray wolves in the western Great Lakes states published on December 28, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 81666)
• The final rule on gray wolves in Wyoming published on September 10, 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 55530).
Reissuing these rules would remove federal protections for wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming, which were recently reinstated after two federal courts found that FWS’s final rules violated the ESA. The bill also waives judicial review for the reissuance of rules.
H.R. 424 Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017
Sponsor: Representative Collin C. Peterson (D-MN-7).
This proposal has bipartisan support with 17 cosponsors. The bill is the House version of S. 164, removing federal protections for wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming. H.R. 424 also contains language which would undermine the rule of law and citizen court access by precluding judicial review of both gray wolf delisting decisions.
H.R. 3668 The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2017
Sponsor: Representative Jeff Duncan (R-SC-3)
This bill with 5 cosponsors has provisions within the bill which would:
• abandon science-based decisions under the ESA.
• Eliminate public participation in federal planning processes under the National Environmental Policy Act
• Jeopardize management of the National Wildlife Refuge System by curtailing critical habitat conservation prorams.
• The bill also contains the #WarOnWolves rider: Title XIV of the “Share Act” will delist gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming with no judicial review (Sec. 1401)
S. 1514 Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation (HELP) for Wildlife Act
Sponsor: Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)
This bill with 10 cosponsors has provisions within the bill which would:
• Remove* Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming, even though Wyoming already has management authority over wolves. Again, as with other proposals, the legislation would both subvert citizen’s rights to judicial processes and undermine the ESA. *Update: As of October 5th this bill was reported to the Senate with the wolf delisting language struck through.
• Prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting toxic chemicals, such as lead, in fishing equipment.
• Roll back the Marine Mammal Protection Act enabling the Secretary of the Interior to authorize import permits for the heads of polar bears killed by trophy hunters in Canada.
• Amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by excluding vast areas of land from the definition of “baited area” (if an area is not a “baited area,” the Act’s standard prohibition against killing migratory birds does not apply).
“Must pass” Appropriations Bill:
H.R. 3354 – Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018
Sponsored by Representative Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Included in this appropriations bill:
• A rider (Sec. 116) blocks federal protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming, and prevents judicial review of this action.
• Another rider (Sec. 117) blocks efforts to protect endangered gray wolves in the continental United States under the Endangered Species Act. A national delisting for wolves would reverse the progress the ESA has achieved for wolves and once again put the species at risk of extinction.
• A rider in this appropriations bill (Sec. 423) exempts livestock grazing permit renewals from environmental review!
• A rider added to the House Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations (added by the ‘delightful’ Rep Don Young (House Amdt 351) numbered 43 agreed to by a vote of 297-115 prohibits funds to be used to implement the National Park Service Rule regarding wildlife “management” practices on National Preserves (over 20 million acres) in Alaska. The rider allows extremely aggressive, incredibly inhumane, and scientifically baseless forms of predator control (spotlighting denning bears and cubs during hibernation, baiting brown bears and killing wolves and coyotes during the denning and pupping period). There are numerous anti-enviromental riders (as well as riders which would undermine the ESA) on this spending bill; for more information please see this informative article from NRDC, or this article from NPCA.
Follow this link for other anti-enviromental budget riders.
There are numerous bills threatening critical habitat for wolves and other wildlife, such as this:
H.R. 2936 – Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017
Sponsor: Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) with 12 cosponsors.
The House Natural Resources Committee passed H.R. 2936 out of committee on June 27th, and may come up for a vote in the near future. The bill contains an incredible amount of loopholes and exclusions for environmental, judicial, and public review. Incredibly, this legislation gives away public lands to adjacent private land owners.
The bill would devastate forest health and is an underhanded attempt to repeal the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, the only National Monument in the country designated to protect native biodiversity.
H.R. 2936 allows for:
• Unsustainable logging.
• The transferring of endangered species authority away from the expert consulting agencies.
• The elimination of environmental analysis for an enormous number of logging projects.
• The bill also allows unstudied logging, grazing, livestock infrastructure construction, and herbicide application under the guise of wildfire risk mitigation for areas under 10,000 acres.
• The bill also prevents consultation for endangered species after a land management plan has been changed.
To see the full list of horrific provisions, within this bill, please visit the Western Environmental Law Center here. For more in-depth information on H.R. 2936 visit this blog from UCLA Berkeley Law.
For a full chart (with summary and explanation) of legislative attacks on the Endangered Species Act in the 115th Congress, please follow this link
Please take the time to contact your elected officials voicing your opposition to these stunning proposals. Note: please find and contact your elected officials in the House of Representatives here if above link (USAgov) is down; U.S. Senators here.
Or, send your Congressional members an email here.
In theory, and in an ideal world, the government not only represents the people but is the people, as our voices and concerns are put forth through those whom we elect. This theory, we the people, by the people, and for the people has all but disappeared. To not fight for what is right is to become complacent; do not allow your government to cease being the voice of the people.
Images with permission by Chris Montano Jr.
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