The Role of the Endangered Species Act in Wyoming

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The Role of the Endangered Species Act in Wyoming (Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
The Role of the Endangered Species Act in Wyoming (Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

On Tuesday, the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to discuss the effectiveness and efficiency of state, tribal and local conservation efforts as it relates to the Endangered Species Act.

Among the committee members was U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis, and they agreed that changes need to be made to the act itself.

One of the witnesses at the hearing was Steve Ferrell, policy advisor on wildlife and endangered species for Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. He cited recent lawsuits challenging the state's role in conservation related to the gray wolf drain resources that should be spent on conservation - and not in federal courtrooms.

Since wolves were de-listed in 2008, Ferrell says lawsuits calling for wolves to be re-listed have drained valuable resources. He introduced a solution, though.

In a media release, the committee said too many incentives exist for litigation on species recovery, forcing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to spend limited resources battling lawsuits instead of on conservation.

Representative Lummis said she was pleased to see there was a unanimous agreement that changes have to be made to the Endangered Species Act, but she was disappointed in the tone set by those who think litigation is a solution.

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