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21 Senators urge administration to restore protections for wolves

Oregon senators were not on the list

U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Gary Peters (D-MI) led 21 of their colleagues this week in urging the U.S. Department of Interior to issue an emergency listing to restore temporary federal Endangered Species Act protections to the gray wolf in the western United States. No Northwest senator signed the letter.

The letter comes on the heels of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiation of a comprehensive status review of the gray wolf in the western United States as well as the recent enactment of wolf harvest policies in several states, including Idaho and Montana.

"If continued unabated for this hunting season, these extreme wolf eradication policies will result in the death of hundreds of gray wolves and will further harm federally protected ecosystems like Yellowstone," the Senators wrote to Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland. "The Department of the Interior can prevent these senseless killings, and we urge you to immediately establish emergency interim protections while the Service completes its status review.

"As you know, wolves are an integral component of North American ecosystems. More than 600 scientists have written to request emergency relisting of the Northern Rockies wolf population, precisely because wolves' role in maintaining healthy ecosystems is being jeopardized by the policies now being implemented by Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. As the scientists note, 'Without the presence of key species in numbers, we are merely conserving scenery and not functioning ecosystems.'

"Given the above, we urge you to immediately issue an emergency listing to establish temporary federal protections for gray wolves. An emergency listing, which extends for 240 days, will prevent more wolves from being killed before the Service makes a determination about whether relisting is warranted. Furthermore, as part of its status review, we respectfully request that the Service both engage in meaningful tribal consultation and consider the impacts of state-level policies like those in Idaho and Montana as they reevaluate the gray wolf's status," the Senators concluded.

The letter was co-signed by: Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jack Reed (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Ed Markey (D-MA).


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