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.”
In December 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a final rule to de-list 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.