The push to delist grizzly bears moved into the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, as Wyoming Republican Congresswoman Harriet Hageman and others introduced a bill calling for delisting.
“The Greater Yellowstone population of grizzly bears should have been removed from the endangered and threatened species list fifteen years ago,” Hageman said in a statement announcing the legislation.
Hageman Joins Gordon, Wyoming Senators
Wyoming’s Republican U.S. Senators — Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso — previously announced introducing a Senate bill calling for grizzly delisting.
That came shortly after Gov. Mark Gordon announced that he’d made a breakthrough with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which had agreed to considering delisting the bears after a year-long research and public comment period.
Retired Interior Official Expressed Optimism
There’s reason to think that delisting grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone region of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho will go through this time, retired U.S. Department of the Interior Official Rob Wallace told Cowboy State Daily recently.
“The evidence is irrefutable that the grizzly bear has recovered,” said Wallace, who lives in northwest Wyoming and retired in 2021 as assistant U.S. secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Decades In The Making
The Greater Yellowstone grizzlies were placed under federal Endangered Species Act protection in 1975, when they had all but disappeared from the region.
Their population has since grown an estimated 1,000 bears, Wallace said.
There were previous efforts to have grizzlies delisted in 2007 and 2017. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department had planned for a grizzly hunting season in 2018, but that was cancelled by a federal court injunction