Ranking Member Grijalva Opposes Republican Effort To Delist Gray Wolves, Calls on Colleagues to Reject “Sad Waste of Time”

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today called on his Democratic and Republican colleagues to join him in opposing H.R.6784, a bill by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.) that removes the gray wolf from the endangered species list in the lower 48 states. The bill, which has only three cosponsors, is expected to receive a House vote tomorrow morning.

“This bill is a sad, insulting waste of the country’s time, especially with California on fire, and even Republican leaders know it,” Grijalva said today. “At this very moment we’re seeing some of the deadliest wildfires in our nation’s history, with lives lost and property damage continuing to mount, and here we are voting on whether we should make it easier to kill gray wolves. Bringing up this bill at this time speaks volumes about Republican leaders’ priorities. I’m calling on my colleagues in both parties to vote no so we can get back to real business.”

Gray wolves are protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the lower 48 states outside of Wyoming and the Northern Rocky Mountains area, where they were delisted through federal legislation. Historically, gray wolves were present throughout most of the continental United States, Canada, and northern Mexico, but because they were viewed as a threat to livestock, wolves were hunted to the brink of extinction.

By the time they received ESA protection in the early 1970s, only several hundred gray wolves remained in the wild in extreme northern Minnesota and Michigan. Thanks to the ESA and related reintroduction efforts in and around Yellowstone National Park, gray wolves have started to recover. However, they still only occupy 5 percent of their historic range and 36 percent of their suitable habitat.

It is estimated that there were once hundreds of thousands of wolves in the lower 48. Today there are less than 6,000. Gray wolves continue to need ESA protection.

If H.R. 6784 becomes law, the Secretary of Interior would be forced to remove ESA protections for all gray wolves in the contiguous 48 states without going through a formal rulemaking process. The decision would not be subject to judicial review.

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