April 28, 2023
Today, Congresswoman Lauren Boebert’s and Congressman Tom Tiffany’s bill to delist the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List, the Trust the Science Act, passed the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Congresswoman Laruen Boebert (CO-03) stated, “I am thrilled that the House Committee on Natural Resources trusted the nonpartisan science and passed Rep. Tiffany’s and my bill to finally delist the recovered gray wolf and focus scarce taxpayer funding on endangered species that actually need help recovering. I will never stop advocating for rural Colorado, and I will keep working to protect farmers, ranchers, and their livestock from wolf attacks. The science is clear, the gray wolf is fully recovered, and it is time for the federal government to get out of the way and allow state and tribal wildlife agencies to manage this species.”
House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman said, “It is far past time to follow science and delist the recovered Gray Wolf from the endangered species list. This action has previously had bipartisan support from multiple administrations, and the science is clear. We should follow the original intent of the ESA, which was designed to recover species on the brink of extinction and delist them when they recover. States and local communities know what’s best for themselves, and today we took an important step forward in letting states manage their own wildlife populations.”
Congressman Tom Tiffany (WI-07) stated, “Activists endanger the Endangered Species Act by not removing species, like the gray wolf, when they have recovered. It’s a scientific fact that the gray wolf population has met and exceeded recovery goals, and it’s time to celebrate this success by returning wolf management back to where it belongs, in states’ hands.”
Today, the Trust the Science Act passed the House Committee on Natural Resources with a recorded vote of 21-16.
The Trust the Science Act requires the Secretary of Interior to reissue the 2020 Department of the Interior final rule that delisted gray wolves in the lower 48 United States. Pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act, the Trust the Science Act limits judicial review through Congress’ Article I legislative authority to oversee agency rulemaking. This eliminates the risk of an activist judge holding up implementing the scientific decision made by nonpartisan career staff at the Department of the Interior.
In March, the Trust the Science Act received a hearing in the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife, and Fisheries. In the hearing, Congresswoman Boebert shared the stories of farmers, ranchers, and families who lost livestock and even family pets to vicious wolf attacks.
Gray wolves were first listed under the Endangered Species Preservation Act in 1967, 55 years ago.
In 2009, the Obama administration upheld the decision to delist gray wolf when then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a Democrat from Colorado, announced the decision at a press conference. He stated that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) decision to delist gray wolves was “a supportable one…Scientists have concluded that recovery has occurred.”
In 2011, Congress directed the USFWS to reinstate a rule to delist the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies Ecosystem.
In 2013, the Obama administration proposed delisting gray wolves in the lower 48 states.
In November 2020, scientists and nonpartisan career employees at the Department of the Interior once again found that gray wolves were fully recovered and once again issued a rule that returned management of gray wolf populations to states and tribal wildlife agencies.
At over 6,000 wolves at the time of delisting, the gray wolf has been the latest Endangered Species Act success story, especially as the initial agency recovery goal was 650 wolves. There are also an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 gray wolves in Alaska and nearly 30,000 gray wolves in Canada.
Unfortunately, extremist environmental groups like Defenders of Wildlife and WildEarth Guardians filed frivolous litigation, and an activist California judge subsequently pandered to these groups by vacating the 2020 rule and unilaterally relisting the gray wolf by judicial fiat.
In April of 2022, the Biden administration appealed the ruling of this California activist judge and supported the 2020 rule that delisted gray wolves in the lower 48 United States.
In the 115th Congress, the House of Representatives passed similar legislation to my bill by a vote of 196-180, with 9 Democrats voting in favor of passage.
Congresswoman Boebert has actively led on gray wolf issues. Congresswoman Boebert called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reverse its decision to study relisting the gray wolf. Additionally, Rep. Boebert’s appropriations request for $1 million for the Wolf-Livestock Loss Demonstration Program to compensate farmers and ranchers whose livestock are killed by wolves reintroduced by federal programs was signed into law in FY2022 and FY2023.
While the Trust the Science Act does not fully solve Colorado’s unique wolf introduction problem, it seeks to make progress by removing the federal government from managing this species. Proposition 114, now codified as Colorado Statute 33-2-105.8, was approved by Colorado voters and requires the state of Colorado to reintroduce gray wolves. Wolves are also listed at the state level in Colorado.
The Congresswoman has started the 118th Congress being an extremely effective legislator and has now passed two bills through the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, passed two bills through the House Committee on Natural Resources, and passed nine of nine amendments offered through the House, eight of which had strong bipartisan support.
For additional background on the Trust the Science Act and for additional quotes from supporters, please see Congresswoman Boebert’s original press release from when she introduced the Trust the Science Act.
The full text of the Trust the Science Act is available here.
24 Members of Congress cosponsored Rep. Boebert’s and Rep. Tiffany’s Trust the Science Act, including: Rep. Jack Bergman (MI-01), Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04), Rep. Eli Crane (AZ-02), Rep. Michelle Fischbach (MN-07), Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (WI-05), Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI-08), Rep. Glenn Grothman (WI-06), Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-09), Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Del. James Moylan (GU-AL), Rep. John Moolenaar (MI-02), Rep. Rep. Troy Nehls (TX-22), Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Rep. Andy Ogles (TN-05), Rep. Scott Perry (PA-10), Rep. Matt Rosendale (MT-02), Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-08), Rep. Brian Steil (WI-01), Rep. Derrick Van Orden (WI-03), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), Harriet Hageman (WY-AL), and Rep. Ryan Zinke (MT-01).
Stakeholders that have supported the Trust the Science Act in the 117th Congress or the 118th Congress include: Alaska Farm Bureau Federation, BigGame Forever, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Conservation Alliance, Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Livestock Association, Colorado Wool Growers Association, Coalition of Arizona/New Mexico Counties for Stable Economic Growth, Douglas Creek Conservation District, FreedomWorks, Hunter Nation, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, IOTR-International Order of T. Roosevelt, Mid States Wool Growers Association, Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota Lamb & Wool Producers Association, Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association, National Rifle Association (NRA), New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, New Mexico Wool Growers Inc., Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, Rio Blanco County Commissioners, Rio Blanco County Farm Bureau, Safari Club International (SCI), Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, Southwestern Colorado Livestock Association, Washington Farm Bureau, Washington State Hunter Heritage Council, Western Caucus, White River Conservation District, Wisconsin Cattleman’s Association, and Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.