In response to the September court-ordered listing of the grizzly bear, Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) has introduced legislation directing the Department of Interior to re-issue a previous delisting decision. The Grizzly Bear State Management Act also prevents further judicial review of the delisting.
“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,” said Congresswoman Cheney in a Sept. 25 press release.
SCI strongly supports the Congresswoman’s efforts.
“SCI views the recovery of the GYE grizzly bears as a conservation success story, and since at least 2006 has advocated for the delisting of GYE grizzly bears from the threatened species list,” said SCI President Paul Babaz. “Success should lead to movement forward—state management and well-regulated hunts—not needlessly expending federal resources on a population that has been recovered for more than a decade.”
“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,” Congresswoman Cheney continued.
In August 2018, the court held a hearing on the delisting. Attorneys for the FWS; the states of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana; and several non-governmental organizations including SCI and the NRA, made strong arguments in defense of the delisting and the use of hunting as a grizzly bear management tool. The Montana district court judge issued two, 14-day temporary restraining orders against hunts planned by Wyoming and Idaho.
A federal court ultimately invalidated the delisting in part on its view that the FWS did not adequately consider the impact of the GYE grizzly bear delisting on other grizzly populations in the lower 48 states. The court also disagreed with the FWS’s conclusion regarding the threat posed by GYE population’s relative genetic isolation. The court remanded the rule back to the FWS.
“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,” concluded Congresswoman Cheney.