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Peterson, Stauber Introduce Bill to Return Wolves to State Management

 

September 26, 2019



WASHINGTON– Representatives Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn. and Pete Stauber, R-Minn. today introduced the Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2019 that would return management of the Western Great Lakes gray wolves to state control in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Management of these gray wolves was transferred from the state to the federal level following two 2014 U.S. District Court decisions that reinstated gray wolves under the protections of the Endangered Species Act. These designations leave farmers and ranchers in those states without a legal avenue to protect their livestock from problem wolves.

“Choosing between protecting their livelihood or complying with a federal judicial decision is a choice no farmer should have to make. The gray wolf population should be managed by the states, where it belongs. This is practical, bipartisan legislation that balances safety with gray wolf population management and urges states to consult with tribes early and often when crafting management plans,” Peterson said.

“Despite its evident recovery, the gray wolf remains listed due to arbitrary judicial decisions made thousands of miles away from gray wolf territory. In Minnesota, keeping the gray wolf on the Endangered Species List threatens our very way of life, as the animal cannot be deterred while attacks on family-owned livestock and pets increase,” said Stauber. “Minnesotans know better than Washington bureaucrats on how to manage their own wildlife populations, which is why I am proud to join Congressman Peterson in introducing legislation that will empower state and tribal agencies to tailor a management plan that meet local needs.”

American Farm Bureau Federation, President Zippy Duvall "The population of the Gray Wolf is recovered and stable, period. De-listing the wolf from the Endangered Species list is long overdue. Farm Bureau strongly supports federal efforts to de-list the Gray Wolf including the Gray Wolf State Management Act sponsored by Chairman Peterson."

National Farmers Union, President Roger Johnson “Farmers’ and ranchers’ livelihoods depend on their ability to protect their property and their livestock against predatory animals. But current regulations force farmers to either sacrifice their own animals or break the law. NFU wholeheartedly supports the Gray Wolf State Management Act, which would return wolf management to state agencies and provide farmers with the flexibility they need to defend their livestock.”

United States Cattlemen’s Association, President Kenny Graner “We strongly thank Congressman Collin Peterson for his leadership in addressing this issue. From Oregon to Montana to northern Michigan, U.S. cattle producers are increasingly working with the government in successful public-private partnerships to not only strengthen species numbers, but also improve the habitat on which these animals depend. Successful human-livestock-wildlife interactions begin with returning management decisions back to the state level, allowing states to implement and administer appropriate wolf population management plans for their constituents.”

Minnesota Farm Bureau, President Kevin Paap “Minnesota Farm Bureau thanks Chairman Peterson for bringing forward this important piece of legislation. The Endangered Species Act has successfully stabilized the gray-wolf population in Minnesota. It is time to return the management of this species to the states to allow them the autonomy to manage the gray-wolf based on each states unique economic and safety needs.”

Minnesota Farmers Union, President Gary Wertish “Delisting the grey wolf in Minnesota is a priority for Minnesota Farmers Union, because the best available science indicates that the state’s wolf population has fully recovered. Many of our members have suffered depredation and that takes a financial and often emotional toll on the farmer. This is particularly true for the many small producers who pasture their cattle – and for whom the death of even one animal is a significant loss.”

MN State Cattlemen’s Association, President Mike Landuyt “The Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association supports efforts to delist the grey wolf in the state of Minnesota. We believe the wolf population in Minnesota has recovered and cattlemen in our state support managing their population on a state level."

MN Lamb and Wool Producers, Past President John Dvorak “The continued listing of gray wolves restricts our states’ management options for private and public property and does nothing to enhance the recovery efforts for this species. These states have the resources and expertise to manage gray wolves working collaboratively with residents, ranchers and wildlife enthusiasts. The American Sheep Industry and Minnesota sheep producers like myself applaud Chairman Peterson’s leadership and strongly support the Gray Wolf State Management Act."

Rock Mountain Elk Foundation, President and CEO R. Kyle Weaver “The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation fully supports the efforts of Congressman Peterson to delist fully recovered wolf populations in the Great Lakes states. Wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin have far exceeded recovery goals for more than eight years. Wolves, left unchecked by lack of state management through hunting and trapping, are negatively impacting deer, moose and elk populations. These states should have the opportunity to implement the same successful management programs already in place in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, where wolf populations have recovered and continue to thrive,”

In December 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a final rule to delist Western Great Lakes gray wolves from federal protections. This decision was based on strong evidence that gray wolf population numbers had adequately recovered and states demonstrated suitable management plans to provide for the long-term conservation of a viable gray wolf population.

 

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