Gray wolf

Jun 092015

WOTUS rule also targeted

The House Appropriations Committee's proposed spending bill for the Department of the Interior would remove gray wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes from the list of threatened and endangered species.

The bill also would delay for a year any decision on listing of the greater sage-grouse by prohibiting the spending of any money on a proposal for the bird. Presumably, however, the Fish and Wildlife Service could continue to work on the matter.

The committee issued a press release this morning. The full text of the bill is here.

The Center for Biological Diversity was quick to criticize the bill. Brett Hartl, CBD's endangered species policy director, called it "another cynical attack on science and the Endangered Species Act that will result in wolves being mindlessly slaughtered in the few places where they have begun to recover."

Here is the text of some riders in the bill:


SEC. 117. None of the funds made available by this or any other Act may be used by the Secretary of the Interior to write or issue pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1533)—

(1) a proposed rule for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus);

(2) a proposed rule for the Columbia basin distinct population segment of greater sage-grouse.


SEC. 120. None of the funds made available by this or any other Act may be used to draft, prepare, implement, or enforce any new or revised regulation or order that—

(1) prohibits or restricts, within the United States, the possession, sale, delivery, receipt, shipment, or transportation of ivory that has been lawfully imported into the United States;

(2) changes any means of determining, including any applicable presumptions concerning, when ivory has been lawfully imported; or

(3) prohibits or restricts the importation of ivory that was lawfully importable into the United States as of February 1, 2014.


SEC. 121. Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on December 28, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 81666 et seq.) and the final rule published on September 10, 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 55530 et seq.), without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rules. Such reissuances (including this section) shall not be subject to judicial review.


SEC. 122. Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall amend the interim rule pertaining to the northern long-eared bat published by the Department of the Interior in the Federal Register on April 2, 2015 (80 Fed. Reg. 17974 et seq.), only in such a way that—

(1) take incidental to any activity conducted in accordance with the habitat conservation measures identified at pages 18024 to 18205 of volume 80 of the Federal Register (April 2, 2015), as applicable, is not prohibited; and

(2) the public comment period for such interim rule is reopened for not less than 90 days.


SEC. 422. None of the funds made available in this Act or any other Act for any fiscal year may be used to develop, adopt, implement, administer, or enforce any change to the regulations and guidance in effect on October 1, 2012, pertaining to the definition of waters under the jurisdiction of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251, et seq.), including the provisions of the rules dated November 13, 1986, and August 25, 1993, relating to said jurisdiction, and the guidance documents dated January 15, 2003, and December 2, 2008, relating to said jurisdiction.


SEC. 423. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to develop, carry out, or implement

(1) any guidance, policy, or directive to reinterpret or change the historic interpretation of 30 C.F.R. 816.57, which was promulgated on June 30, 1983 by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the Department of the Interior (48 Fed. Reg. 30312); or (2) proposed regulations or supporting materials described in the Federal Register notice published on June 18, 2010 (75 Fed. Reg. 34667) by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the Department of the Interior.


SEC. 425. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to further implementation of the coastal and marine spatial planning and ecosystem-based management components of the National Ocean Policy developed under Executive Order 13547.


SEC. 429. None of the funds made available in this Act or any other Act may be used by the Environmental Protection Agency to develop, adopt, implement, administer, or enforce any change to the regulations in effect on October 1, 2012, pertaining to the definitions of the terms ‘‘fill material’’ or ‘‘discharge of fill material’’ for the purposes of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.).


SEC. 431. Section 502(c) of the Chesapeake Bay Initiative Act of 1998 (Public Law 105–312; 16 U.S.C. 461 note) is amended by striking ‘‘2015’’ and inserting ‘‘2017.’’


SEC. 432. The terms and conditions of section 325 of Public Law 108–108 (117 Stat. 1307), regarding grazing permits issued by the Forest Service on any lands not subject to administration under section 402 of the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1752), shall remain in effect for fiscal year 2016.


SEC. 433. The Secretary of the Interior, with respect to public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, and the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to the National Forest System lands, shall make vacant grazing allotments available to a holder of a grazing permit or lease issued by either Secretary if the lands covered by the permit or lease or other grazing lands used by the holder of the permit or lease are unusable because of drought or wildfire, as determined by the Secretary concerned. The terms and conditions contained in a permit or lease made available pursuant to this section shall be the same as the terms and conditions of the most recent permit or lease that was applicable to the vacant grazing allotment made available. Section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332) shall not apply with respect to any Federal agency action under this section.


SEC. 434. None of the funds made available in this or any other Act may be used to condition the issuance, renewal, amendment, or extension of any permit, approval, license, lease, allotment, easement, right-of-way, or other land use or occupancy agreement on the transfer of any water right, including sole and joint ownership, directly to the United States, or any impairment of title, in whole or in part, granted or otherwise recognized under State law, by Federal or State adjudication, decree, or other judgment, or pursuant to any interstate water compact. Additionally, none of the funds made available in this or any other Act may be used to require any water user to apply for or acquire a water right in the name of the United States under State law as a condition of the issuance, renewal, amendment, or extension of any permit, approval, license, lease, allotment, easement, right-of-way, or other land use or occupancy agreement.

May 062015

Hearing, live (from Senate EPW page)

Link to EPW page on hearing

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) also has introduced a bill, S. 1081, to ban the use of body-gripping traps in national wildlife refuges.

Center for Biological Diversity news release (click the links in the release for more information from THOMAS and the senators' web pages)

For Immediate Release, May 6, 2015

Contact Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121,

Senate Republicans Take Aim at Endangered Species Act

Proposed Legislation Would End Protections for More Than 800 Species, Gut Critical Habitat, Politicize Science

WASHINGTON— The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing today on eight Republican-sponsored bills attacking the Endangered Species Act, including one that would end federal protection for more than 800 endangered animals and plants around the country.

Several of the bills are nearly identical to legislation introduced by Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives last year that sought to limit public participation and citizen enforcement of the Endangered Species Act, and undermine the scientific basis for protection decisions for our nation's most imperiled wildlife. Two bills — one introduced by Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and one introduced by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. — would eliminate endangered species protections for hundreds of currently protected species and severely weaken habitat protections for many more.

“In the past four years Republicans have introduced more than 50 bills to weaken the Endangered Species Act and 100 bills going after individual species. Not a single one, though, would help save an endangered plant and animal,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Polls consistently show a majority of Americans, including many Republicans, support protecting endangered species. These kinds of bills may please rich campaign donors – especially those exploiting the planet for profits – but they’re way outside the mainstream.”

Among the bills in today’s hearing:

S. 855, Sen. Paul’s so called “Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act,” would eliminate all Endangered Species Act protections for species found only within one state. More than 800 endangered species, including all endangered species in Hawaii and Puerto Rico would lose federal protections if this bill were to pass. Another provision of this bill requires that all endangered species lose their protection every five years, after which they would only regain protection if Congress passes a joint resolution. No endangered species anywhere in the world has ever recovered in fewer than five years. The bald eagle took nearly 40 years to recover, as did the peregrine falcon and gray whale.

S. 112, Sen. Heller’s so-called “Common Sense in Species Protection Act of 2015,” would require the Fish and Wildlife Service to consider short-term economic costs when protecting critical habitat for endangered species and require the agency to exclude areas if the costs were deemed too high. If passed, such a bill would almost certainly reduce habitat protections for plants and animals. Research has shown that species with designated critical habitat are twice as likely to be recovering than those species without designated habitat

S. 292, introduced by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, would require that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publish on the Internet all data used for an endangered species listing decision, including detailed maps that could lead to more illegal poaching or collecting.

S. 293, also introduced by Sen. Cornyn, would limit the ability of the Service to settle cases without allowing state governments to intervene and would limit the availability of attorney’s fees available under the Endangered Species Act. By changing the basic judicial rules on when parties can intervene in lawsuits, the Department of Justice will not be able to settle patently unwinnable cases, forcing it to waste taxpayer resources in futile litigation. By slowing down litigation, species will continue to wait in limbo for protection under the Act.

S. 736, introduced by Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., would redefine the “best scientific data” to automatically include data provided by states, tribal governments or localities even if those data are in fact the most inaccurate, out-of-date data available. This bill would result in the Service using poorer data and making worse decisions regarding whether or not to protect endangered species, and would spur countless lawsuits arguing over what information qualifies as the best-available science. [Enzi page: "endangered species" search]

The proposals in the last three bills were all introduced in the last Congress in the House of Representatives.

“Republicans seem to introduce crazier and crazier legislation just to establish their Tea Party credentials for their favorite funders — the Koch brothers and the American Petroleum Institute,” said Hartl. “It’s sad that they continue to attack our most vulnerable endangered wildlife rather than trying to find solutions — such as fully funding endangered species recovery activities — to benefit our environment and our wildlife. This latest spectacle in the Senate looks to be just the first of many wasted opportunities over the next two years.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 825,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Apr 082015
Wolf numbers are up and down in Idaho

There are two ways of looking at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s recent wolf monitoring report: The number of wolf deaths declined 24 percent (from 473 to 360) and the estimated number of wolves in the state increased from 684 to 770. Also, said the report, “The number of reproductive wolf packs (or […]

Mar 102015

The Wildlife Services division of USDA shot and killed 19 wolves in northern Idaho’s “to improve poor elk survival in the area,” the state’s Game and Fish department announced yesterday. “In February, Idaho Fish and Game requested USDA Wildlife Services conduct a control action consistent with Idaho’s predation management plan for the Lolo elk zone, […]

Appeals filed in Great Lakes wolf case

 Posted by on February 27, 2015
Feb 272015
Appeals filed in Great Lakes wolf case

The federal government, the states of Wisconsin and Michigan and a coalition of hunting groups have appealed a Dec. 19 decision that put gray wolves in the Great Lakes back on the endangered species list. The United States and the hunting groups both filed notices of appeal Feb. 13. Wisconsin appealed on Feb. 26 and […]

Feb 122015

Two bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives to remove endangered species protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming. They were immediately criticized by environmental groups. See below for releases. Official text of the bills is not available yet, but should be soon (see below for “informal” copy of one […]