Below is a press release from Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar’s website dated July 14, 2016. He and Steve Pearce of New Mexico have teamed up on several amendments to help call into account the MGW program. The Mogollon Rim News would like to thank AZ Rep. Paul Gosar for his work on behalf of rural Arizona residents as well as NM Rep. Steve Pearce. You can reach Rep. Gosar through his website at gosar.house.gov.
July 14, 2016, WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after the House passed the Gosar/Pearce amendment by a vote of 219-203 allowing for the responsible state management of the Mexican Wolf and successfully attached the amendment to the Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017:
“The Federal approach to managing the Mexican Wolf has been a lose/lose situation for everyone involved. Farmers, ranchers and families in New Mexico and Arizona face longer wait times for wolf disturbances and the species itself has seen its numbers decline under the flawed management of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Allowing States to responsibly manage the species back into recovery is a no-brainer. The status quo has resulted in the Mexican Wolf lingering on the Endangered Species list for 40 years. States have proven better at species conservation and management than a bloated bureaucracy that only responds to frivolous lawsuits.”
Following passage of the amendment, Congressman Steve Pearce (NV-02) stated, “FWS has consistently proven its inability to manage the Mexican Wolf program in New Mexico. This is clear in the recent Inspector General Report substantiating claims from Catron County that those at the top levels of the program at FWS tolerated a culture of lies, falsification, mismanagement and manipulation of scientific data, ultimately at the cost of public trust and species recovery. I am pleased that the House passed this amendment. It is time to give this program back to the States.”
One of the main issues for wolf recovery is an extremely outdated recovery plan being utilized by FWS. The Mexican wolf was first listed as an endangered species in 1976. In 1982, Mexico and the United States signed the Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, which FWS is still currently utilizing today. As a result, this plan is significantly outdated and is not based on the best available science.
In January 2015, FWS drastically increased the recovery range for the wolves without requesting the proper resources needed to manage the program. Later that year in December 2015, FWS confirmed that the agency was again considering introducing the species into areas outside its historic range. This expansion effort is extremely misguided as 90% of the Mexican’s wolf’s historic range is in Mexico. The four Governors from the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah sent a bipartisan letter to Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell expressing serious concerns and opposition to this approach.
To make matters worse, just this week, the Department of the Interior’s Office of Inspector General released a scathing report of the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program. The report revealed some serious structural issues with the program as well as disturbing actions taken by FWS staff overseeing the program.
On June 8, 2015, the Arizona Attorney General and the Arizona Game and Fish Department filed a lawsuit against the secretary of the Department of Interior and FWS “for failing their statutory duty to develop an updated recovery plan to guide Mexican wolf recovery.” In April 2016, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish also filed a lawsuit against FWS, claiming that the agency was ignoring the “laws and regulations of New Mexico” by releasing wolves without state permits. In June, a federal judge sided with the New Mexico State government and granted the state a temporary injunction preventing the FWS from releasing any more Mexican wolves into the wild.
The full text of the amendment is below:
AMENDMENT TO H.R. 5538, AS REPORTED OFFERED BY MR. PEARCE OF NEW MEXICO At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:
1 SEC. ll. None of the funds made available by this
2 Act may be used to treat the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus
3 baileyi) as an endangered species or threatened species
4 under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C.
5 1531 et seq.) or to implement a recovery plan for such
6 species that applies in any area outside the historic range
7 of such species.