Newhouse bill to delist gray wolf passes through key U.S. House committee

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WASHINGTON D.C. — A bill co-sponsored by Fourth Congressional District Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Yakima, that seeks to delist the gray wolf from protections laid out in the Endangered Species Act recently passed through a key U.S. House of Representatives committee.

The “Manage Our Wolves Act,” introduced by Newhouse and Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wisc., comes after the management of gray wolves was transferred from the states to the federal government in the wake of two U.S. District Court decisions. The newly introduced legislation states that by the end of fiscal year 2019 the Secretary of the Interior will remove the gray wolf in each of the 48 contiguous states from the list of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.

The Manage Our Wolves Act was adopted by the House Committee on Natural Resources and “favorably” reported to the House in a roll call vote of 19-15.

“I thank Chairman (Rep. Rob) Bishop and my colleagues on the House Natural Resources Committee for advancing this important legislation to delist the gray wolf,” Newhouse said. “The best-available science used by the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows that the gray wolf has recovered and is no longer endangered. I continue to hear from and work with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, which has been asking for the federal delisting of the gray wolf since 2013. We must return management of the species to states to allow for more effective and accountable management that responds to the needs of the ecosystem, other species, and local communities.”

In a May letter Newhouse sent to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife the lawmaker recognizes the state’s strong wolf management plan, but he states sometime there is a need to remove wolves that become accustomed to livestock as a viable food source.

Newhouse states that current federal designation/management prohibits the full implementation of the plan in the western two-thirds of Washington and the only way the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can address wolf conflicts with livestock under the current federal endangered designation is for the service “to attempt to relocate livestock-killing wolves.”

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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