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Rep. Rosendale Introduces Bill to Delist Grizzly Bears in Northern Continental Divide and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystems

Washington, D.C. – Last night, Representative Rosendale introduced the Science-Based Grizzly Bear Management Act of 2021. This bill would direct the Secretary of the Interior to remove the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem populations of grizzly bears from the list of endangered and threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

There is a larger population of grizzly bears today in Montana alone than there were across all the lower 48 states when the species was designated as threatened. The grizzly bear populations in each ecosystem now far exceed the recovery targets that were set. Despite this significant growth in grizzly bear populations, the species remains listed as threatened under the ESA–ignoring the science which shows that grizzly bear populations have more than recovered.

As a result of this mismanagement, human-bear encounters have risen dramatically as grizzly bear populations expand into historically unpopulated territory—posing a life-threatening risk to the residents who live in these areas. Livestock depredations have also increased, hurting Montana ranchers. This bill would delist the grizzly bear from the Endangered Species Act to ensure states like Montana—not bureaucrats in DC—are able to manage grizzly bear populations effectively.

“The science does not support keeping the Grizzly Bear listed under the Endangered Species Act. But unfortunately, as a result of serial litigation at the behest of radical environmentalists, the species continues to be listed as threatened today,” Representative Rosendale said. “This puts the lives of Montanans and the livelihoods of Montana ranchers in jeopardy. It’s high time we follow the science and pass my bill to delist the grizzly bear populations in the Northern Continental Divide and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystems, and return management back to the states.”

“The grizzly bear has recovered in the NCDE and GYE, and we should celebrate this conservation success story. It's time for the federal government to return management of the grizzly bear in these ecosystems to the states, and Rep. Rosendale's legislation will do just that. The State of Montana and our impacted communities are prepared to manage the recovered grizzly," Governor Greg Gianforte said.

“The science has been clear for years and is clearly laid out in Governor Gianforte’s delisting petition—the grizzly bear has recovered and it’s time to return management back to the State of Montana where it belongs. Congressman Rosendale, Governor Gianforte and I stand in firm agreement and will continue working together to advance this important issue for Montana communities, public safety, wildlife and the grizzly bear itself. Grizzly bear recovery should be celebrated, not politicized, and I urge the Administration and Senator Tester to join us in support of delisting the grizzly bear,” Senator Steve Daines said.

“Allowing the grizzly bear to remain on the federal endangered species list is a tone-deaf move that ignores the science as well as the voices of those in Montana and Wyoming. Earlier this year, the Fish and Wildlife Service admitted that both of these populations are recovered. The time for change is now, which is why I am proud to join my colleague Mr. Rosendale in introducing this legislation, which will turn over management to the states who are ready and able. I encourage my colleagues on the committee to support this bill and move it quickly through committee,” House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman said.

“The science shows the grizzly bear is fully recovered, and a delisting is well past due,” Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) said. “For too long, the grizzly bear has been used as a political pawn by radical environmental groups cherry-picking data to fit a narrative, and we have seen the impacts of this in rural communities throughout the West – particularly in Montana. I am proud to join Rep. Rosendale in introducing this legislation, which celebrates the success of local conservation and species recovery efforts, and I am encouraged by Montana’s strong leadership – including that of Governor Gianforte – to ensure the best available science is used to manage grizzly bear populations.”

“As is the case with most issues, input from the local level is key to success,” Representative Fulcher said. “This bill will delist the GYE and NCDE Grizzly Bears to allow for states to better manage populations in collaboration with their communities directly impacted.”