3:02 PM EDT

Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. Section 119 exempts from judicial review any final rule of the Secretary of the Interior that delists wolves in Wyoming or the Western Great Lakes States, provided the Fish and Wildlife Service has entered into an agreement with the State for it to manage the wolves.

The irony here is that the majority does not trust any action of Secretary Salazar except if it involves the delisting of wolves. The rider undercuts the public's right to petition a Federal court to review an agency's decision and blocks the court's ability to carry out its customer authority to review executive branch decisions.

Now, I have been a strong proponent of the re-introduction of the gray wolf into Yellowstone and in other areas. This has been one of the most successful operations in restoring a species that had been nearly wiped out in our country. And today we're seeing all of the benefits of this. So I don't think we should undercut the people's right to go to court if they don't think the agency has done this according to the law. And I have great respect for Secretary Salazar, and I'm sure he would agree

with me that there should not be a prohibition on judicial review.

And I'd like to yield to the distinguished ranking member for any comments he would have on this.

3:03 PM EDT

Jim Moran, D-VA 8th

Mr. MORAN. My only observation is it's ironic that the majority doesn't seem to trust anything that Secretary Salazar does, except if it involves the delisting of wolves. This rider does undercut the public's right to petition a Federal court to review an agency's decision. So, we're establishing a precedent here with regard to wolves. It blocks the court's ability to carry out its customary authority to review executive branch decisions.

That's the way the system's supposed to work. The executive branch makes a determination and, in our system, if there are individuals or organizations that don't agree, they have recourse to the judicial system. This says, no, we're going to suspend that part of the Constitution. No, you don't, you can't go to the courts. The executive branch is inviolate here. They make a decision, that's it. Permanent.

We like Secretary Salazar, and we support Secretary Salazar far more consistently than the majority does, if the majority supports him on anything. But we don't really see why we need to suspend the constitutional process in this particular specific unique circumstance.

So I would support the gentleman's amendment.

3:05 PM EDT

Doc Hastings, R-WA 4th

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I rise to oppose my friend's amendment. I hope this isn't a pattern long term, but on this particular bill it seems to be a pattern at any rate.

His amendment would strike the important language in H.R. 2584 that addresses the administration's confusing policies involving Endangered Species Act-listed populations of gray wolves nationwide.

As I mentioned on the House floor during a colloquy with Chairman Simpson on Monday, the Obama administration has created a confusing and impractical result with its recent announcement to delist the gray wolves in some States, but leave other States, such as Washington, Oregon and Utah with mixed management. H.R. 2584, as written, and as clarified in my colloquy with the chairman, would help remedy this flawed policy.

Problems with the Federal management of gray wolves are nearly as old as the Endangered Species Act itself. Five years after ESA's passage in 1978, the gray wolf was listed as endangered or threatened in all of the lower 48 States. In the mid-1990s, the Clinton administration ordered an experimental introduction of wolves into the Yellowstone area, central Idaho, and the Mexican wolf into Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. It also established a new definition to identify the population of listed

species. As a result, wolves multiplied. But, unfortunately, because they can't read maps, they moved into areas where they weren't supposed to go.

In 2003, the Fish and Wildlife Service divided gray wolves into geographical boundaries that made more sense. It included the entire States of Washington, Oregon, Utah and other areas so that States would eventually be able to develop their own State management plans to remove wolves from the endangered species list.

Then, in 2009, the Obama administration reversed course and adopted the theory that wolves should be delisted in Idaho, Montana, and only parts of certain other States, but would leave other areas where wolves likely populate still. This is under ESA.

As a result, in my own Fourth Congressional District in central Washington, and I'll put up a map here, the wolves are delisted on the eastern side of Highways 97, 17, and 395. Highway 97, Highway 17, and 395.

Delisted over here, listed over here. This makes absolutely no sense, and it shows how the ESA is badly in need of updating and how ineffective the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in managing wolves. And I might add, this is true in Oregon, in parts of Oregon and parts of Utah.

So I oppose this amendment because the colloquy that I had with the chairman is one that sets the stage for properly managing these wolves in the States that I associate with.

I just might add on a personal level, I live very, very close to here. But I live in the listed area.

Now, we do fish marking. I know my friend is very well aware of fish marking, and I'm not opposing the authorizing on this bill, as the gentleman knows--this year, anyway. But there is no listing here for the gray wolf. Now, I have no idea if a wolf crosses down here into my area, if it is, in fact, a listed or a delisted wolf.

[Time: 15:10]

But apparently Fish and Wildlife think that they know where Highway [Page: H5612]

97 ends, where 17 comes down here and connects with Highway 395, because that's what their arbitrary rule says. It doesn't make any sense at all.

And so as a result of this, the colloquy I had with Chairman Simpson clarified this, that it includes the whole areas that are within that geographic boundary. And for that reason, I oppose my friend's amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

3:10 PM EDT

Cynthia Lummis, R-WY

Mrs. LUMMIS. I also rise in opposition to the amendment by the gentleman from the State of Washington.

The best way to manage wolves is to let State experts do the job. Now, that's true whether you want to increase the number of wolves in your State, like the gentleman from the State of Washington wants to do, or you want to maintain a recovered population, which is what we want to do in my State of Wyoming.

Now, the truth about current wolf management is that if Washington wants to try to increase the wolf population in western Washington, they cannot do it under the current rules. And in my State of Wyoming, when asked at our committee meeting whether the wolf was fully recovered in the State of Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service testified that, yes, the gray wolf is fully recovered in the State of Wyoming, has been for a long time.

3:11 PM EDT

Cynthia Lummis, R-WY

Mrs. LUMMIS. Reclaiming my time, I'm coming to that.

The State of Wyoming has a wolf management plan that was approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as adequate. And then subsequently, through litigation upon litigation upon litigation, the courts changed their mind, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service changed its mind, the court changed its mind again, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service changed its mind again. So this is a process that is driven by litigation, not by science, because the science and the numbers both say that the gray wolf

is recovered in Wyoming.

Wyoming has a wolf management plan on the books. However, what we are saying here with this amendment is that the State of Wyoming, through its Governor, will negotiate changes to that management plan which, when agreed to with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and submitted to the Wyoming Legislature, will not then be subject to additional whipsaw litigation--that will be the end of it--returning management of wolves to the State experts that should be doing this job.

Wolf management is frozen, and it need not be. By trying to strip this language, the gentleman from the State of Washington emboldens the people who don't want Washington State--or Oregon or Wisconsin or Michigan or Wyoming or any other State--to make its own decisions using its own wildlife biologists. I believe that State wildlife experts, not D.C. cube dwellers, have the expertise and the knowledge and the passion to manage the wolf anywhere they roam.

It is the intent of this legislation as currently written to make sure that the people who have the science, the background, the knowledge to make sure that the wolf, which has admittedly been recovered--admittedly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recovered--to be managed in a way that ensures that ongoing recovered status and ensures it at the very level where you're able to do it, where the boots are on the ground of the wildlife biologists and the paws are on the ground of the wolf that

is already recovered but that needs to be maintained pursuant to a wolf management plan.

Let's trust our States, their wildlife biologists. Let's trust my Wyoming Game and Fish Department that has been recognized as one of the best wildlife management agencies in the country.

I'm stunned that people in Washington really believe that they can do it better and make decisions for wolves they've never seen, in places they've never been, and don't trust wildlife biologists they've never met. It is much better if the people on the ground are where the wildlife are on the ground, where the interaction is on the ground, where the conditions are understood, where the geography is known, where the life expectancy, where the birthrates, where the survivability of the species

can be witnessed and determined.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

3:15 PM EDT

Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd

Mr. SIMPSON. I'll be brief, Mr. Chairman, or as brief as I can.

I appreciate this discussion on wolves because it is something that is near and dear to the people of Idaho.

I was the speaker of the house in Idaho when the gentleman from Washington supported wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone and Idaho and Montana and Wyoming--something that Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana frankly didn't want but, nevertheless, the Fish and Wildlife Service said that's what we're going to do and that's what they did. Since that time, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming have been doing the right thing in restoring these wolf populations.

In Idaho and Montana, they came up with a wolf management plan that was approved by the Fish and Wildlife Service--it was approved--but then it was taken to court because it didn't include Wyoming. And a judge said--not based on science. We're trying to get back to science. But a judge said, You can't just delist in Idaho and Montana; you have to include Wyoming, and Wyoming didn't have a State management plan approved then. Since that time, I understand that the Fish and Wildlife Service and

Wyoming have come up with a plan in principle--and they're still working out the details, but I believe that they will have a plan by the end of this year--to delist in Wyoming.

All we're saying is that when they're delisted by Fish and Wildlife Service, they have an approved plan, then it is not subject to judicial review. Because, frankly, there are people who don't think we ought to have any wolf management plan that would include, guess what? Hunting wolves. I know the gentleman from Washington is astounded by that. Our Governor has indicated that he likes to hunt wolves. The problem is wolves have no natural predator out there except hunger. When they've done away

with the food supply, some wolves die; otherwise, they just continue to grow in population.

Anybody that thought we were going to reintroduce wolves into the Rocky Mountains and there wasn't going to be some type of control--a hunt or whatever--were living on a different planet. But those same people now that wanted the wolves reintroduced, that oppose any type of wolf management, go to court to try to stop the delisting.

The gentleman from Washington has explained the problem that exists when you have mixed management of wolves that get confused. They don't know which side of the line they live on, whether they're protected or whether they're not protected, whether they can go out and eat your puppy dog or not. So they're confused wolves. We're trying to clear that up for them.

And in the Great Lakes, the Great Lakes have had a population that is greater than in the Rocky Mountains and have been deserving of delisting for a number of years but have just not gotten it done.

And contrary to what the gentleman from Virginia said, I actually think the Secretary of the Interior is doing a good job. There are many things I agree with him on. Many of my westerners would disagree with that. I happen to think he's doing a good job as Secretary of the Interior. I don't agree with everything he does, but you know what? When I call him up and say we've got some real problems with this, he listens--he might not agree after he listens, but he listens to us. That's all I ask

from a gentleman in that position.

So don't believe that we are critical of the Secretary. We do have some differences of opinion, and I realize that he works in an administration that [Page: H5613]

makes it difficult for him sometimes. He's from Colorado. He knows western issues. But I have enjoyed working with him.

And I trust the Fish and Wildlife Service and the science that they provide to delist wolves better than I do adjudge. That's why this language is here. Wolves will still be protected in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, Utah, where they have expanded to, and in the Great Lakes.

[Time: 15:20]

3:20 PM EDT

Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. As I recall, the fact was that Montana and Idaho had plans that would protect the wolves if they were delisted, and then at some point they would take further action if necessary to protect the wolves if too many of them were killed.

The problem with Wyoming was Wyoming's plan didn't have credibility. Now I understand that it does. But what the judge was saying is that you have to protect the wolf throughout the area, which included Wyoming. That's why they couldn't delist it without dealing with Wyoming, and Wyoming wasn't ready. So, I hope that Wyoming will come up with a credible plan at the State level to keep the wolf going.

3:20 PM EDT

Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. As I recall, the fact was that Montana and Idaho had plans that would protect the wolves if they were delisted, and then at some point they would take further action if necessary to protect the wolves if too many of them were killed.

The problem with Wyoming was Wyoming's plan didn't have credibility. Now I understand that it does. But what the judge was saying is that you have to protect the wolf throughout the area, which included Wyoming. That's why they couldn't delist it without dealing with Wyoming, and Wyoming wasn't ready. So, I hope that Wyoming will come up with a credible plan at the State level to keep the wolf going.

3:20 PM EDT

Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd

Mr. SIMPSON. Reclaiming my time, the gentleman is right. If wolf populations get below acceptable levels, then they go back on the endangered list. Guess what. Wyoming and Montana and Idaho are not going to let that happen.

I think this is a good way to go for proceeding with the Endangered Species Act and making sure it does what it's intended to do.

The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman from Idaho has expired.

(On request of Mr. Hastings of Washington, and by unanimous consent, Mr. Simpson was allowed to proceed for 2 additional minutes.)

3:22 PM EDT

Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. I want to say to the chairman, if you would yield, I also tried to reintroduce the wolf in western Washington, but the chairman of the Interior Committee in the other body disagreed with me.

3:22 PM EDT

Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd

Mr. SIMPSON. Reclaiming my time, western Washington.

I just want you to know that there have been several wolves that have come to my house, and they presented me with a petition that they would like to visit the Cascades.