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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today denied protections for the rare wolverine under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), potentially jeopardizing the species’ long-term survival in the lower-48 states. Although the Service proposed to list wolverines as “threatened” in 2013 citing a primary threat of reduced habitat and range from climate change, the agency today said wolverines do not warrant a listing due to uncertainty about the effects of climate change on the animals, a claim disputed by conservation groups.
Defenders of Wildlife today opened a new Northwest Office in Seattle to enhance our work on important emerging wildlife and public lands conservation issues with local communities, elected officials, state and federal agencies, tribes and partner conservation organizations in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
The U.S. Court of Appeals today ruled that the NC DOT has a duty to provide a plan that analyzes the impacts of NC12 on the environment.
The House leadership continued its ongoing assault on imperiled wildlife and the environment today by supporting the passage of bill H.R. 4315 (233-190) that undermines essential protective provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The bill is drawn directly from a sham investigative “report” issued by House Natural Resources Committee Chair Doc Hastings and his self-appointed, partisan “ESA Working Group” earlier this year. The report outlined an aggressive and hostile legislative strategy to weaken or even eliminate key ESA protections for imperiled wildlife.
Faced with a legal challenge by conservationists and an imminent hearing before a federal appeals court, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (“IDFG”) has abandoned its plan to resume a professional wolf-killing program in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness during the coming winter.
Today, the Fish and Wildlife Service published a revised draft of the rule governing management of Mexican gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act that includes provisions that would allow for increased take—or killing—of the critically endangered animals. There will be public hearings and a comment period for citizens to address the proposal. There are currently only about 83 wolves in the wild in the southwest United States.
Jim Moran offered an amendment to strike a provision in the 2015 House Interior appropriations bill delaying the listing of sage-grouse.
Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-17) introduced the SAFE Act (H.R. 5065) in the House of Representatives today. The bill, a Senate version of which was introduced by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and former senator Max Baucus (MT), was crafted to help guide climate adaptation strategies for our nation’s natural resources and wildlife habitat in the face of global warming. Combating invasive species, restoring coastal wetlands and watersheds and controlling wildfires are just a few of the resilience-building strategies included in the SAFE Act.
Defenders of Wildlife released a report today finding that key components of the state of Wyoming’s sage-grouse conservation strategy are unlikely to conserve the species. While the state’s “core area” strategy is an important step forward, recognizing the need to preserve large areas of priority habitat to sustain the grouse, it fails to require needed restrictions on energy development and other land uses and thus should not be used as model for other state and federal planning efforts.
The House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior and Environment passed the 2015 appropriations bill for the Interior Department.