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Sen. Johnson Introduces Bill to Delist Gray Wolves
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 11/13/2015

Two U.S. Senators introduced legislation this week that directs the secretary of the Interior to reissue final rules related to the listing of the gray wolf in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act. Republicans Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and John Barrasso from Wyoming say their measure serves as the Senate companion to the bipartisan House bill introduced by Reps. Reid Ribble and Cynthia Lummis earlier this year.

"After over 30 years of needed protection and professional pack population management, the wolf has made its comeback," Johnson said. "In 2011, the administration's Department of the Interior determined the number of wolves in the western Great Lakes states to be sufficient and growing and made the correct decision to delist them as an endangered species."

Last December, Judge Beryl Howell ruled that the wildlife agency should not have removed federal protections for wolves in Wisconsin and eight other Great Lakes states, which led to several wolf hunting seasons in many of those states. He then immediately placed the animal under protections first established in the late-1970s.

"It's obvious the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service judges its past delisting decision to have been correct, and the ongoing efforts in Wisconsin and elsewhere to properly manage the wolf levels are working well," he noted. "Simply put, wolves in these four states are no longer endangered and do not need the protections the ESA afforded them in the past."

The senators say the bill's language does not modify the Endangered Species Act, nor does it prevent the Fish and Wildlife Service from ever returning the wolf to the endangered list if it determines the population is again threatened and in need of federal protection.

Other Wisconsin co-sponsors of the House bill include Sean Duffy, Glenn Grothman, Ron Kind, Paul Ryan, and Jim Sensenbrenner.

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