09:39 PM

Disastrous House Interior Appropriations Bill Attacks Protections for Gray Wolf, Sage Grouse


June 9, 2015

Contact: Haley McKey, hmckey@defenders.org, 202-772-0247


Bill also blocks tougher restrictions on smuggled ivory and weakens habitat protections for bats

The House Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations has released its initial markup for the Department of the Interior appropriations bill, soon to be sent to the House floor for voting. It includes over 20 anti-environmental riders aimed at weakening the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.

One of the destructive anti-wildlife riders would legislatively order the secretary of the Department of the Interior to reissue rules delisting gray wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes states, and shield those rules from any additional judicial review. These rules were declared unlawful under the ESA and invalidated by two separate federal judges. This provision would be yet another example of Congressional micro-management of endangered species for political purposes.   

The bill also includes an amendment that would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from even considering greater sage-grouse and the Columbia Basin sage-grouse for possible listing under the ESA for at least another year. Both populations have already waited more than a decade for a listing decision.

Another rider blocks the ability of FWS to crack down on the illegal ivory trade within the United States, and yet another would stifle habitat protections for the threatened northern long-eared bat.

The following is a statement from Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark:

“This Department of the Interior appropriations bill is, unfortunately, exactly what we’ve come to expect from the House of Representatives when it comes to imperiled wildlife and habitat protection. It includes a slew of riders set to weaken the Endangered Species Act and blocks tougher restrictions to stop the sale of smuggled ivory within the United States. It specifically targets imperiled species like the gray wolf, greater sage-grouse and northern long-eared bat. This bill would be a disaster for our nation’s natural heritage. Conservation champions in the House and Senate need to stand up for wildlife and make sure these harmful amendments are never adopted.”


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @defendersnews.