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Two separate pieces of legislation to eliminate federal protections for wolves in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Wyoming were introduced in Congress this week. These two pieces of legislation, the first sponsored by Representative Kline (R-MN) focused on removing protections in the Great Lakes states, and the second by Representatives Ribble (R-WI) and Lummis (R-WY) that would encompass the Great Lakes and Wyoming both, come just a few months after courts set aside rules that delisted wolves in those regions, keeping wolves protected under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today confirmed through DNA analysis that the endangered gray wolf shot dead in Utah was indeed the lone female recently made famous for her journey of hundreds of miles from the Northern Rockies to the Grand Canyon. The wandering wolf was killed earlier this month by a hunter who reportedly mistook her for a coyote.
The Obama administration has released its 2016 budget proposal, which calls for an increase of $74 billion over sequester cuts in recent years.
The pallid sturgeon, a critically endangered North American fish with ancestors dating back to the time of dinosaurs, may die out in a few years without access to prime spawning habitat if river dam operations in the upper Missouri River are not changed. Today, conservation groups filed a lawsuit against three federal agencies, demanding that the agencies fix their dam operations that threaten the existence of wild pallid sturgeon.
Today the Senate rejected an amendment that would have removed federal protections for the lesser prairie chicken, an iconic grassland grouse whose population recently plummeted leading to a 2014 threatened listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Senator Moran of Kansas introduced the amendment which would have immediately and permanently delisted the imperiled birds, jeopardizing conservation and recovery of the species.
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has recommended that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain be designated as a wilderness area.
Today the Senate voted down an amendment, sponsored by Mike Lee (UT), to the Keystone pipeline bill that would have restricted citizens’ access to the courts and curtailed their ability to hold the government accountable when it fails to properly enforce the Endangered Species Act.
Yellowstone National Park has begun to round up and ship wild bison to slaughterhouses as they cross park boundaries in search of food at lower snow depths. Today, the National Park Service announced that round-ups have begun to take place and that bison will be transported to the Stephens Creek facility near the park’s north entrance and held until they are sent to slaughterhouses. This year’s killing program is slated to be the largest in seven years.
Today the U.S. Forest Service temporarily put the brakes on an environmentally hazardous mining project in southern Arizona’s Coronado National Forest that it previously approved in August. The Forest Service’s decision follows a similar move by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which had originally given the project the green light in August and then withdrew its approval in December. The agency decisions to withdraw their approvals of the Canadian mining company Regal Resources’ “Sunnyside Project” are based on the project’s potential violation of multiple environmental laws.
Conservationists say they’ll fight provisions in a new federal rule that caps the population of endangered Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest at numbers too low for recovery, bans them from needed recovery habitat, and makes it easier for them to be killed. While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new rule allows wolves in an expanded area, the other provisions will impede the long-term recovery of these rare animals.