Dear Secretary Jewell:
It is my understanding that the Department of Interior this week decided to withhold publication of a proposed rule that would have removed gray wolves outside the Southwest from the endangered species list. If true, this is welcome news and a wise decision. Such a rule would end federal recovery efforts for certain endangered wolves and cause irreparable harm.
Today we stand at a crossroads for wolf recovery. Populations have grown substantially in the Great Lakes and the Northern Rockies. Individual wolves have dispersed into California, the Pacific Northwest, the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Northeast. Now is the time to support full wolf recovery, not shut down our efforts. With your leadership, our great country has a real opportunity to recover wolves on a national level with vibrant populations in California, the Pacific Northwest, the Southern Rocky Mountains, and the Northeast, not just isolated, relic populations in the Great Lakes, Northern Rockies and the Southwest.
I strongly urge you and your Department to use this current pause to cancel the scientifically flawed delisting proposal developed by your predecessor and preserve opportunities for wolves to recover in additional parts of the United States.
The fate of wolves in the United States is in your hands. We urge you to work with all interested Americans to ensure conservation for the gray wolf across multiple ecosystems as required by the Endangered Species Act. Our mutual respect for America's natural heritage demands nothing less.
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva
Member of Congress