WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed Congressman Matt Rosendale’s (MT-02) legislation to remove the grizzly bear population in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem from the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
“Since grizzly bears were first listed under the Endangered Species Act, they have exceeded the set recovery targets – now, there are over 1,100 grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem alone,” Rep. Rosendale said. “I’m grateful that my colleagues on the House Natural Resources Committee recognize that the federal government must allow Montana to manage our grizzly bear population.”
Rosendale’s bill, H.R. 1419, the Comprehensive Grizzly Bear Management Act of 2023, received a committee hearing on March 23rd, 2023, in which Choteau rancher Karli Johnson shared her experience raising children and cattle around a growing and increasingly aggressive grizzly bear population. Read more here.
Rosendale is also an original cosponsor of Rep. Harriet Hageman’s (WY-AL) H.R. 1245, the Grizzly Bear State Management Act of 2023, which aims to delist the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population of grizzly bears, and Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (CO-03) H.R. 764, Trust the Science Act to delist gray wolves throughout the lower 48 states. Both pieces of legislation also passed out of the committee today.
• The grizzly bears that are protected in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) make up the largest population of grizzly bears in the continental United States.
• The protection of the grizzly bear under the ESA not only threatens humans and livestock, but it also contributes to costly delays, increased litigation, and required mitigation measures around critical habitat established for the bears.
• The recovery goals established when the bear was initially listed have long since been passed, and US Fish and Wildlife, the agency of jurisdiction, continues to push back recovery goals every time they are met, keeping management responsibilities at the federal level. This sets a dangerous precedent for other species included in the ESA and removes any incentive for landowners and users to implement any actual conservation practices.
• As long as the NCDE grizzly bear population remains listed under the ESA, we can expect similar measures to be taken with other species on their way to recovery. The delisting of the Grizzly Bear would fundamentally change the trajectory of the ESA and restore it to the Act’s initial intent when first passed into law by Congress.