Grizzly Decision Fuels Lawmakers To Amend The ESA

Sep 27, 2018

On Wednesday, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing on proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This comes right after a court ruling on Monday that returned federal protections back to the Yellowstone grizzly bear. Republicans have long been pushing for the modernization of the ESA, including Wyoming's U.S. Senator John Barrasso.

"The problem with the ESA, it's been hijacked and it's almost impossible to get a species that is fully recovered and get it off the list," said Barrasso.

Barrasso would like to see more power in the hands of the states to manage protected species. He said this recent grizzly ruling is helping members of Congress see his point.  

Derek Goldman, the Northern Rockies representative for the Endangered Species Coalition disagrees. He said it takes decades to recover a species. Plus, he said, there's more at stake today.  

"We're seeing more and more threats," said Goldman. "We've added climate change into the mix as something that's an extinction driver in the last several of decades."

Among the proposals to amend the ESA was Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney's legislation, introduced this week. It would remove grizzly bears from federal protections and prevent any court injunctions.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.