We appreciate House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) expressing his opposition to removing the Yellowstone grizzly bear from protection under the Endangered Species Act unless important safeguards are in place to guarantee the bear’s future.
We share the concerns Rep. Grijalva laid out in his letter to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service today. Namely, whether the states will be allowed to reduce the grizzly population by close to 200 bears, how the Service and the states will help Greater Yellowstone bears connect with other bear populations in the Northern Rockies, and whether the Service and the states will secure wild places for grizzlies to roam on federal lands outside the park.
We’re concerned and disappointed that federal and state agencies haven’t answered fundamental questions about how grizzly bears will be managed, and that state and federal agencies are at odds over critical issues. A big question remains: Will the Service turn its back on a 40-year success story in the final days of this Administration? Or will the Service do what’s right for bears?
Instead of rushing to complete a flawed delisting process, the Service should pause and take the time to get it right. Yellowstone’s iconic grizzly bears and the American public deserve a transparent process, a protective and coordinated management plan, and commitments from federal and state agencies to maintaining a stable, healthy bear population long into the future.
We applaud Rep. Grijalva for shining a light on the shortcomings of the Service’s process, and for giving a voice to the concerns of Yellowstone National Park and the National Park Service.
-- Caroline Byrd, Executive Director