Text: H.R.4496 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (05/18/2000)

 
[Congressional Bills 106th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 4496 Introduced in House (IH)]







106th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 4496

  To provide for the reintroduction of the Eastern Timber Wolf in the 
  Catskill Mountains, New York, and to authorize the Secretary of the 
  Interior to acquire lands through the Bureau of Land Management to 
                    facilitate that reintroduction.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                              May 18, 2000

  Mr. Simpson  (for himself, Mr. Hansen, Mr. Lipinski, Mr. Weldon of 
   Pennsylvania, Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Mr. English, Mr. Salmon, Mr. 
 Pastor, Mr. Cannon, Mr. Radanovich, Mr. Young of Alaska, Mr. Herger, 
 Mr. Gibbons, Mr. Stump, Mr. Schaffer, Mr. Hayworth, and Mr. Walden of 
   Oregon) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
                         Committee on Resources

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
  To provide for the reintroduction of the Eastern Timber Wolf in the 
  Catskill Mountains, New York, and to authorize the Secretary of the 
  Interior to acquire lands through the Bureau of Land Management to 
                    facilitate that reintroduction.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Protecting America's Wolves Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    The Congress finds the following:
            (1) Throughout history, wolves have been misunderstood and 
        feared. Wolves have been subjected to widespread persecution 
        and targeted by large scale predator eradication programs 
        sponsored by private, State, and Federal entities. The 
        Endangered Species Act of 1973 finally protected wolves as 
        endangered species, but by that time wolves had been almost 
        completely exterminated from the lower 48 States, except for a 
        few hundred wolves that inhabited extreme northeastern 
        Minnesota.
            (2) The subspecies commonly known as the Eastern Timber 
        Wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) once had an extensive range covering 
        most of the Eastern United States, including the Catskill 
        Mountains of New York.
            (3) Reintroduction of the Eastern Timber Wolf into the 
        State of New York would serve the public interest, by--
                    (A) helping to ensure the survival of that 
                subspecies;
                    (B) enhancing the biological diversity of the 
                ecosystems of the State of New York and bringing them 
                into a more natural balance;
                    (C) beginning to redress some of the mistakes of 
                the past, such as the Government-sponsored 
                extermination of the Eastern Timber Wolf; and
                    (D) enhancing our understanding of wolves and of 
                the environment.
            (4) The public debate surrounding wolf reintroduction in 
        the Northeastern United States would foster a deeper 
        understanding within the general public about the complex 
        interactions among species in their natural environments.

 SEC. 3. EASTERN TIMBER WOLF REINTRODUCTION.

    (a) In General.--Not later than 2 years after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall prepare and 
publish a recovery plan for the Eastern Timber Wolf in the Northeastern 
United States under section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 
(16 U.S.C. 1533(f)), including a plan for releasing Eastern Timber 
Wolves in the Catskill Mountain area of New York under section 10(j) of 
that Act (16 U.S.C. 1539(j)).
    (b) Plan Contents.--The Plan shall include the following:
            (1) Goals for the biological recovery of the Eastern Timber 
        Wolf, including wolf population goals that must be achieved as 
        a condition for removing that subspecies from lists under 
        section 4(c) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 
        1533(c)).
            (2) A process and method for obtaining Eastern Timber 
        Wolves from Canada for release under the plan.
            (3) An outline of how releases under the Plan will proceed, 
        including proposals for cooperative agreements that may be 
        pursued with State and local government agencies to facilitate 
        those releases.
            (4) A determination of the number of Eastern Timber Wolves 
        that should be released under the Plan to ensure a self-
        sustaining population of that species in the Catskill Mountain 
        area of New York.
            (5) A process for compensating New York residents for 
        depredation of livestock by Eastern Timber Wolves, including--
                    (A) an estimate of the number and value of 
                livestock in New York expected to be lost to 
                depredation by that species;
                    (B) criteria for determining in individual cases 
                whether livestock depredation by that species has 
                actually occurred;
                    (C) procedures for providing compensation;
                    (D) establishment of a separate account for the 
                receipt and disbursement of donations of money for use 
                to pay compensation, that shall be known as the 
                ``Protecting Eastern Timber Wolf Restoration Mitigation 
                Fund''; and
                    (E) an estimate of the amount of money that would 
                be needed in that account to ensure in perpetuity the 
                availability of amounts for paying such compensation.
            (6) A study of--
                    (A) the feasibility of releasing Eastern Timber 
                Wolves in other parts of New York; and
                    (B) the feasibility of reducing road densities in 
                certain areas of New York to provide for wolf dispersal 
                corridors.
    (c) Acceptance and Use of Donations.--
            (1) In general.--The Secretary may accept and use donations 
        of funds for compensating New York residents for depredation of 
        livestock by Eastern Timber Wolves under the Plan.
            (2) Deposit into pet wolf fund.--Amounts received as 
        donations under this subsection--
                    (A) shall be deposited into the PET Wolf Fund; and
                    (B) shall be available, subject to appropriations, 
                for paying compensation in accordance with the Plan.

SEC. 4. EASTERN TIMBER WOLF RELEASES.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary shall, in accordance with the Plan, 
begin releasing Eastern Timber Wolves on land in the Catskill Mountain 
area of New York acquired under section 5 by the latest of--
            (1) the date that is 3 years after the date of the 
        enactment of this Act;
            (2) the date on which the Secretary has obtained Eastern 
        Timber Wolves for release; or
            (3) the date on which the Secretary has obtained land under 
        section 5 for that release.
    (b) Acquisition of Animals for Release.--The Secretary shall seek 
to acquire Eastern Timber Wolves for release under the Plan by not 
later than the date referred to in subsection (a)(1).
    (c) Status of Released Wolves.--Section 10(j)(2)(C) of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1539(j)(2)(C)) shall not 
apply to any population of Eastern Timber Wolves released under this 
section.

SEC. 5. LAND ACQUISITION.

    (a) In General.--Subject to the availability of appropriations, the 
Secretary, through the Bureau of Land Management, may acquire land and 
interests in land within the Catskill Mountain area of New York for use 
as sites for releases of Eastern Timber Wolves under this Act.
    (b) Management.--Lands and interests acquired under this section 
shall be under the administrative jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land 
Management.

SEC. 6. DESIGNATION OF CRITICAL HABITAT.

    Not later than 6 months after the date of the first release of 
Eastern Timber Wolves under this Act, the Secretary shall designate 
areas in New York that as critical habitat of the Eastern Timber Wolf 
for purposes of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

SEC. 7. DEFINITIONS.

    For purposes of this Act:
            (1) The term ``Eastern Timber Wolf'' means members of the 
        subspecies Canis lupus lycaon, as described by Ronald M. Nowak 
        in the article ``Another Look at Wolf Taxonomy'' in the journal 
        Ecology and Conservation in a Changing World (Canadian and 
        Circumpolar Institute, Occasional Publications; no. 35, pages 
        375-398).
            (2) The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of the 
        Interior.
            (3) The term ``Plan'' means the recovery plan for the 
        Eastern Timber Wolf prepared by the Secretary under section 3.
            (4) The term ``PET Wolf Fund'' means the separate account 
        known as the Protecting Eastern Timber Wolf Restoration 
        Mitigation Fund, established by the Secretary under the Plan.
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