WASHINGTON — The House voted 196-180 before leaving for the Thanksgiving recess to delist the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act.
Twelve Republicans voted against the bill, while nine Democrats voted in favor. There was one Democratic co-sponsor, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).
“If you live in the suburbs of Washington DC, it’s not a problem. If you live in Madison, Wisconsin, it’s not really a problem,” sponsor of the Manage Our Wolves Act, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), said on the House floor Friday. “You can make the argument that, the pretty little puppy of the wolf, it’s so pretty and beautiful and we have to protect it. We did protect it. We put it on the endangered species list… this one worked. And we have protected them and allowed them to recover. We have three times as many gray wolf as was projected to be necessary to take them off the endangered species list.”
The Obama administration had moved to remove the gray wolf from the list of endangered species because of the size of wolf populations, but was blocked by a federal court in 2014.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said that though his district has wolf overpopulation, it’s not hurting ranchers. “A lot of this is based on some sort of gut-level historic fear or hatred of predators that has been passed down from generation to generation,” he said of GOP arguments in favor of the bill. “We can have a healthy wolf population and you can still do good husbandry for cattle.”
The Public Lands Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and American Sheep Industry Association jointly urged the Senate to act on the bill.
“We are grateful to see a vote on this legislation, but the bill itself speaks to the need to modernize the Endangered Species Act,” said PLC president Bob Skinner. “Activists should not be allowed to abuse technicalities in the judicial system to force a re-listing – especially when sound science and hard data clearly illustrate that it is time for these wolves to come off the list.”
Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, declared that “this final, pathetic stab at wolves exemplifies House Republicans’ longstanding cruelty and contempt for our nation’s wildlife.”
“The American people overwhelmingly support the Endangered Species Act and the magnificent animals and plants it protects,” he added. “We don’t expect to see these disgraceful anti-wildlife votes next year under Democratic control of the House.”