Legislation to Scare the Bear Off the ESA
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), along with Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), and U.S. Representative Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) introduced the Grizzly Bear Review and Resource Restart (Grrr) Act to fully delist the grizzly bear in the lower 48 states from the endangered species list.
This legislation was introduced at the end of July before Congress took their August recess.
“It is clear grizzly populations have rebounded,” said Risch. “Increasing grizzly bear and human encounters make it even more important to act now. The Grrr Act will take much needed action to delist grizzly bears and focus resources on animals that are truly endangered or at risk.”
“Idaho’s wildlife is best managed at the local level through collaborative efforts among federal, state and tribal entities,” said Crapo. “The grizzly’s current ESA status rejects the reality of the recovered population within the grizzly’s historic range and ignores current management practices backed by science and common sense.”
“The Grizzly Bear Review and Resource Restart Act will begin a clean process in assessing the true management needs of the Grizzly Bear. I am proud to support the ‘GRRR Act’ alongside my colleagues in the U.S. Senate,” said Fulcher.
Background: When the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was created, the intent was to recover endangered species based on science. Currently, legal precedents surrounding the ESA make it nearly impossible to remove the species from the list regardless if population targets have been met.
The original ESA grizzly listing was made without regard to the grizzly bears’ historic range. At least 30 U.S. states are outside of the grizzly bears’ range and have not and cannot reside there. Unfortunately, this flaw in the original listing has led to serious misunderstandings, procedural shortcomings, and technicalities. These challenges have enabled the courts to curtail delisting efforts regardless of the biological status of the bear populations. The Grrr Act would not only delist the grizzly bear but give the Fish and Wildlife Service the opportunity to identify and target grizzly populations that still require ESA protections.