A bill removing federal protections for the gray wolf species was passed by the House on Friday.
The Manage Our Wolves Act aims to remove the animal from the list of threatened and endangered species — and allow ranchers, landowners, hunters and other civilians to shoot them.
The move also would direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to end protection under the Endangered Species Act, and prohibits lawsuits challenging its delisting.
Representatives of western states argue four decades of federal protection, though it brought the gray wolf back from extinction, has resulted in a significant threat to livestock, pets and humans. Removal of protections was accomplished during the Obama Administration but a federal court ruled in 2014 the FWS did not demonstrate the animals have sufficiently recovered.
“Rather than spend its limited resources protecting vulnerable species, litigation activists have forced the [FWS] to continuously defend every action,” Rep. Bruce Westermann, R-Ark., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee’s oversight panel, said Friday. “In this case, despite scientific evidence collected by multiple administrations on both sides of the aisle showing that the gray wolf populations have recovered and thrived, the agency remains bogged down in costly, never-ending litigation.”
The bill’s lead sponsor, Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Ill., said the issue is misunderstood by urban members of Congress.
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