Thank you for contacting me regarding the status of the gray wolf as an endangered species. I appreciate hearing from you.
An animal or plant may be a candidate for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act if, according to the Secretary of the Interior, a significant economic or growth-related factor is threatening its livelihood. I share your concern that conservation efforts are critical as habitat loss and past extirpation efforts continue to affect many sensitive animals and plants.
Due to decreasing numbers in the species population, the gray wolf has been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1967. While gray wolves have rebounded to some degree in the Northern Rockies in recent years, several recent court decisions have recognized the continued importance of protecting this species and prevented delisting efforts by both the Bush and Obama Administrations. I understand your concerns regarding the current legislative effort to delist the gray wolf and I intend to monitor this issue very carefully.
As you may know, there are various Senate and House bills that could potentially undermine the protection efforts of the species. The State Wolf Management Act (S. 3825), introduced by Senator James Risch of Idaho, would prohibit treatment of the gray wolf as an endangered species in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Idaho and Montana. The Restoring State Wildlife Management Act of 2010 (S. 3864), introduced by Senator Max Baucus of Montana, would prohibit treatment of the gray wolf as an endangered species in Montana and Idaho. A bill to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened species or the list of endangered species published under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and for other purposes (S. 3919), introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, would prohibit treatment of the gray wolf as an endangered species throughout our nation. All of these bills have been referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works for further consideration.
In the House, A bill to amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to prohibit treatment of the gray wolf as an endangered species or threatened species (H.R. 6028), has been introduced by Rep. Chet Edwards of Texas. This bill would also prohibit the treatment of the gray wolf as an endangered species in every American state. H.R. 6028 is currently being considered by the House Committee on Natural Resources.
While I am not a member of either of the committees considering these pieces of legislation, please rest assured, should any of these bills come before the full Senate for consideration, I will keep your thoughts and concerns in mind.
I value the input of fellow Coloradans in considering the wide variety of important issues and legislative initiatives that come before the Senate. I hope you will continue to inform me of your thoughts and concerns.
For more information about my priorities as a U.S. Senator, I invite you to visit my website at http://bennet.senate.gov/. Again, thank you for contacting me.
United States Senator