02:00 PM

Senate bill would short-circuit Endangered Species Act protection for wolves

New legislation could set back wolf recovery, undermine federal protections for wildlife


  • Sens. Baucus and Tester (D-MT) introduce legislation to remove federal protections for wolves in Idaho and Montana
  • Legislation undermines ESA, threatens wolf recovery
WASHINGTON, DC (09/29/2010) -

Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester introduced a bill yesterday that would bypass the Endangered Species Act and remove recently restored federal protections for wolves in the states of Idaho and Montana.

The following is a statement by Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife:

“We all share the goal of wanting to see wolves fully recovered, delisted, and returned to responsible management by the states. However, those decisions should be made in accordance with the Endangered Species Act, based on the best available science, not by Congress.

“Congress should not be legislating on a species-by-species basis to determine endangered species winners and losers.  When Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act in 1973, it wisely left those determinations to scientists and wildlife management professionals adhering to the standards established in the ESA.  This bill unwisely reverses course and threatens to politicize what should be science-based decisions.  It would set a terrible precedent, not only for wolves but for the conservation of all threatened and endangered species.”


On August 5, a U.S. District Court in Montana restored federal protections for wolves in the Northern Rockies. The court’s decision stated that a “distinct population segment” of a listed species could not be subdivided along state lines under the Endangered Species Act. That decision set aside a 2008 delisting rule written by the Department of the Interior under the Bush administration and enacted by Secretary Salazar in 2009 to delist wolves across the Northern Rockies while maintaining protections in Wyoming.


Learn more about what Defenders is doing to protect wolves in the Northern Rockies

Read about the Baucus-Tester legislation in the Missoulian


John Motsinger, (202) 772-0288