U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) announced that his plan to remove gray wolves from the federal endangered species list has been approved by the U.S. House by a vote of 223-201.
“Oregon’s wolf population has grown by more than 40 percent, and yet we have this divided management strategy in the federal government where in part of the state wolves are still listed and part of the state they’re not. We need a single management strategy where we have local control under the Oregon state plan,” said Walden. “That’s why this amendment is so important. We need to repeal the endangered species listing for the gray wolf, and get it under state management where we’ve got the most local control so Oregonians can make the decisions.”
Management of wolves in Oregon is currently divided by an arbitrary line that leaves wolves in the eastern third of the state under state management, while the remainder are still managed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Oregon’s wolf population has grown by almost 40 percent in the last year, and their range continues to spread south and west creating issues of split jurisdiction. Meanwhile, wolves continue to kill livestock in the area under federal management, with little recourse for area ranchers and even creating challenges for the five year review of the Oregon Wolf Plan.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recognized the recovery of this species and proposed delisting it three years ago, but litigation by outside groups has brought the process to a crawl. This proposal allows the agency to implement their proposal while ensuring that a delisting occurs by next summer.
Walden’s plan is part of a larger bill that sets the annual budget for the Department of the Interior and other agencies. He teamed up with Washington Reps. Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers to introduce the amendment to get it passed the finish line in the House. A vote on the underlying bill is expected soon.
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