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Three congress bills aim to remove grizzly bears, grey wolves from Endangered Species Act

Jim Urquhart
AP Photo

Conservation groups are speaking out against three bills in Congress that would delist grizzly bears and gray wolves from endangered species protections.

The grizzly bear in the lower 48 states and grey wolves are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, which aims to support animal populations under threat of extinction.

Yellowstone grizzly bears, Northern Continental Divide grizzlies and grey wolves nationwide have protections from the ESA, but those protections could potentially be stripped from the animals.

Some western states, including Idaho, say the federal restrictions need to be lifted so states can ensure public safety and control populations.

In a news release, Julian Mathews, coordinator of Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment wrote, "I feel that these two species should not be delisted as it seems the states will then allow them to be exterminated based on the economic issues that farmers and ranchers and the states use."

A House committee on Natural Resources discussed the measures last week.

U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale proposed the bill and said in a statement the populations of these animals are thriving and that grizzlies are threatening humans and livestock, delisting them would let rural communities defend themselves.

In a news release, Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist and Executive Director of the Western Watersheds Project, said the bills are motivated by politics, not science.

In February, Idaho Gov. Brad Little said it would sue the federal government for not delisting the bears. A bill in the Idaho State House recommending the grizzly bear to be delisted passed out of committee last week.

I'm Richard and I'm a summer newsroom intern. Currently, I am doing stories on a variety of subjects to get a better understanding of different beats. However, I would love to cover stories about diverse issues.