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house Bill H.R. 1445

Should Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Grizzly Bears Be Removed From the Endangered Wildlife List?

Argument in favor

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear population has recovered from its previous low. In fact, the population now exceeds the area’s capacity. With this in mind, it’s no longer appropriate to keep the grizzly bear on the endangered and threatened wildlife list.

Argument opposed

The methodology that was used to determine the grizzly bear population was previously ruled to be faulty science, so given the uncertainty surrounding the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear population it should remain on the endangered list for now.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Water, Oceans, and Wildlife
      Committee on Natural Resources
    IntroducedFebruary 28th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1445?

This bill — the Grizzly Bear State Management Act of 2019 — would direct the Dept. of the Interior (DOI) to remove the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population of grizzly bears from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. It would also prohibit future judicial review of this decision.

Impact

Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem; Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bears; Wyoming; Dept. of the Interior; and the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1445

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to direct the Dept. of the Interior (DOI) to reissue its delisting decision for grizzly bears and prohibit further judicial review of this decision

“The Grizzly Bear State Management Act stops the abuse of the court system by environmental extremists, safeguards the scientifically proven delisting determination and puts management of the grizzly bear back in the hands of Wyoming. I’m pleased to reintroduce this bill and continue fighting for the important work done by the state of Wyoming to establish its own effective grizzly bear management plan. The decision by a Federal District Court Judge in Montana to re-list the grizzly ignores science and reinstates one-size fits all federal management. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and with President Trump to fight for Wyoming’s statutory right to manage wildlife.”

When she introduced this bill in the 115th Congress, Rep. Cheney said

“Today, I introduced the Grizzly Bear State Management Act, which directs the Department of the Interior to re-issue the rule delisting grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and prohibits any judicial review of this decision. This year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determined that, ‘The population has rebounded from as few as 136 bears in 1975 to an estimated 700 today and meets all the criteria for delisting.’ Additionally, USFWS biologists determined the grizzly bear currently exceeds the carrying capacity of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and now occupies more than 22,500 square miles. The decision by a Federal District Court Judge in Montana to re-list the grizzly ignores science, and disregards the important work done by the state of Wyoming to establish an effective grizzly bear management plan. My bill will stop this abuse of the court system and put management of the grizzly back in the hands of experts in Wyoming.”

Senate sponsor Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) adds that it’s proper to delist grizzlies given the population’s recovery in the Yellowstone region:  

“It’s clear that under the Endangered Species Act, grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region are fully recovered, that they should be delisted and management returned to the states. I have been working on this issue for over 20 years, and we already knew back then that grizzly bears had already fully recovered. Unfortunately, we have seen environmental groups take advantage of the court system in the face of wildlife management experts and the science presented before us. Our legislation would finally right that wrong by once again delisting the bears and stopping further frivolous and litigation on this issue.”

Safari Club International (SCI), a nonprofit organization of hunters whose primary mission is to protect the freedom to hunt and promote wildlife conservation, supports this bill. SCI’s President, Paul Babaz, says

“SCI views the recovery of the Yellowstone grizzly bears as a conservation success story, and since at least 2006 has advocated for the delisting of these bears from the threatened species list. Success should lead to movement forward—state management and well-regulated hunts—not needless expenditures of federal resources on a population that has been recovered for more than a decade.”

Groups opposing grizzly hunts have come out against efforts to allow state management of grizzly bear populations. Nicholas Arrivo, a staff attorney at the Humane Society of the United States, says

“[Wyoming’s] state law [allowing grizzly hunting] directly and unlawfully conflicts with the clear mandate of the federal Endangered Species Act that grizzly bears not be shot by trophy hunters seeking their heads and hides for bragging rights.”

This bill has one House cosponsor, Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT), in the 116th Congress. Its Senate companion, sponsored by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), doesn’t have any cosponsors. As of July 11, 2019, neither bill had received a committee vote. Last Congress, this bill had one House cosponsor, Rep. Gianforte, and didn't receive a committee vote.


Of NoteIn 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determined that “[t]he [grizzly bear] population has rebounded from as few as 136 bears in 1975 to an estimated 700 today and meets all the criteria for delisting.” Additionally, USFWS biologists determined that the grizzly bear population at present exceeds the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s carrying capacity and occupies over 22,500 square miles. 

However, despite these determinations by USFWS, a federal district court judge in Montana blocked a DOI rule to delist the grizzly bear.  In this September 2018 ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen restored Yellowstone grizzly bears’ federal protections on the grounds that USFWS had used faulty science to make its decision. Following the ruling, both the Montana state government and the federal government signaled their intention to appeal the decision.

On February 15, 2019, the Wyoming State Legislature adopted House Joint Resolution 0001 (HRJ0001), which requests Congressional action to delist the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This resolution was subsequently signed by Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon on February 19, 2019.

Grizzly bears have become a problem for Wyoming livestock owners. In 2018 alone, grizzly bears were confirmed to have killed 66 cattle and 23 sheep (additionally, there were 22 probable cattle kills and six probable sheep kills).


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / AntonioGuillem)

AKA

Grizzly Bear State Management Act of 2019

Official Title

To direct the Secretary of the Interior to reissue a final rule relating to removing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population of grizzly bears from the Federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife.

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