U.S. Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona have introduced legislation that would seek to turn management of the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf over to the states of New Mexico and Arizona and that includes a provision to automatically delist the Mexican gray wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act. The legislation was announced three days after a court settlement that requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to draft a long-overdue recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf by November 2017.
The bill seeks to arbitrarily force the Service to prevent Mexican gray wolves from dispersing north of Interstate 40 in Arizona and New Mexico. It would automatically remove federal protections for the endangered wolf once the Service director determined that a population goal had been reached, and would block that decision from judicial review.
The following is a statement from Drew Caputo, Vice President of Litigation for Lands, Oceans and Wildlife:
“This proposed legislation would force the Service to draft a plan according to criteria that have nothing to do with wolves or science. Mexican gray wolves need a science-based recovery plan to give them a chance at recovery. At every turn the process for developing a recovery plan for this species has been derailed by politics. This legislation is just the latest political attack. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs to go where the science leads it and stand firm against the relentless political pressure from state politicians, wildlife commissioners and senators who would prefer a plan that would ultimately lead to the extinction of this wolf.”
Rebecca Bowe, Earthjustice, (415) 217-2093