WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), released the following statement on the decision by a federal appeals court to uphold a federal district court’s decision to place the grizzly bear in Wyoming back on the Endangered Species List.
In June of 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) list of threatened species. Delisting the grizzly transferred management of the bear to the state of Wyoming.
“The court is flat wrong,” said Barrasso. “The grizzly bear is fully recovered in Wyoming. That’s a fact. The last three presidential administrations - both Republican and Democrat - have determined the grizzly is recovered. It’s well past time for the grizzly bear in Wyoming to come off of the Endangered Species List. Wyoming - not an activist court - should determine how the bear is managed. The state has a strong, science-based management plan and it should be given a chance to succeed. ”
On March 3, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed to delist the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) from the federal threatened species list. According to the USFWS, “The Yellowstone grizzly bear population has rebounded from as few as 136 bears in 1975 to an estimated 700 or more today. Grizzly bears have more than doubled their range since the mid-1970s and now occupy more than 22,500 square miles of the ecosystem. Stable population numbers for grizzly bears for more than a decade also indicate that the GYE is at or near its carrying capacity for the bears.”
On June 30, 2017, the USFWS published the final rule to delist the grizzly bear in the GYE. The USFWS noted, “The participating States of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming and Federal agencies have adopted the necessary post-delisting plans and regulations, which adequately ensure that the GYE population of grizzly bears remains recovered.”
On September 25, 2018, a federal judge made the decision to place the grizzly bear in Wyoming back on the endangered species list.