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115th Congress    }                                     {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                     {     115-1012

======================================================================



 
                         MANAGE OUR WOLVES ACT

                                _______
                                

November 9, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 6784]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 6784) to provide for removal of the gray wolf in 
the contiguous 48 States from the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife published under the Endangered Species Act 
of 1973, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 6784 is to provide for the removal of 
the gray wolf in the contiguous 48 States from the List of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife published under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    H.R. 6784 is a bipartisan bill that would exempt from 
judicial review the 2012 rule (later reinstated in 2017) 
delisting of the gray wolf (canis lupus irremotus) in Wyoming 
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The bill further 
directs the Secretary of the Interior to reissue a 2011 rule to 
delist the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes region and 
would exempt this rule from judicial review. Finally, the bill 
directs the Secretary to issue a rule to remove the gray wolf 
(Canis lupus) in each of the 48 contiguous States from the list 
of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and prohibits judicial 
review of this action.
    Gray wolves were first listed as endangered under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA, 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) in 
1974.\1\ Existing wolves present in the Western Great Lakes 
region at the time were protected, and the federal government 
subsequently introduced the species to the western U.S. by 
relocating wolves from Canada and releasing them in central 
Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in 1994 and 1995.\2\ 
States, local citizens, livestock groups, and sportsmen mostly 
opposed the reintroduction effort.\3\ The reintroduced wolf 
population in the West expanded more quickly than many had 
anticipated. As a result, in September 2001, affected States 
and tribes began working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (FWS) to formulate plans that would effectively 
transition management responsibility of the species to the 
States upon delisting under the ESA.\4\ FWS deemed the Idaho 
and Montana wolf management plans adequate, but did not approve 
the Wyoming plan.\5\
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    \1\Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. 1531.
    \2\See, Wolf Restoration, Nat'l Park Serv., https://www.nps.gov/
yell/learn/nature/wolf-restoration.htm (last visited July 12, 2017).
    \3\See, Letter from C.L. ``Butch'' Otter, Governor, State of Idaho, 
to Ken Salazar, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior (October 18, 
2010) (available at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/
wolves/?getPage=161).
    \4\See, State of Idaho, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho 
Wolf Management Plan (2002) (available at: http://
fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/docs/wolves/plan02.pdf). See also, State 
of Montana, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Montana 
Wolf Conservation and Management Plan (2002) (available at: http://
fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/management/wolf/management.html). See also, 
Wyoming Farm Bureau v. Babbitt, 987 F. Supp. 1349 (D. Wyo. 1997).
    \5\Wyoming Farm Bureau v. Babbitt, 987 F. Supp. 1349 (D. Wyo. 
1997). See also, Press Release, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serv. Service 
Removes Western Great Lakes, Portion of Northern Rocky Mountain Gray 
Wolf Populations From Endangered Species List Wolves in Wyoming to 
Remain Protected by Endangered Species Act (Jan. 14, 2009) (https://
www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/pressrel/09-02.htm).
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    Gray wolves were removed from the endangered species list 
on January 14, 2009.\6\ As part of their management plans, 
Idaho and Montana conducted tightly controlled wolf hunts 
beginning in the autumn of 2009.\7\ Sales of wolf hunt tags 
traditionally provide funding for wildlife management 
activities, and hunts are conducted in a similar fashion to 
those of large ungulates and other wild animals under State 
management.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\See, Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Rule 
to Identify the Western Great Lakes populations of Gray Wolves as a 
Distinct Population Segment and to Revise the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife, 74 Fed. Reg. 15070 (Apr. 2, 2009) (available at: 
https://www.fws.gov/Midwest/wolf/archives/2009delisting/pdf/
fnlruleFR02april2009.pdf).
    \7\See, Press Release, State of Idaho Department of Fish and Game, 
Idaho's First Wolf Hunt is Over (Apr. 5, 2010) (available at https://
fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/docs/wolves/news10.pdf). See also, State 
of Montana, Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, The 2009 Montana 
Wolf Hunting Season (2010) (available at file:///C:/Users/molmstead/
Downloads/2009%20Wolf%20Hunting%20Season%20Summary.pdf). See also, The 
Status of the Federal Government's Management of Wolves: Hearing Before 
the H. Comm. on Natural Resources Subcomm. on Oversight and 
Investigations, 114th Cong. (2016) (The State of Idaho has successfully 
managed thriving wolf populations since delisting).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Activist groups challenged the FWS decision to delist the 
wolves in Idaho, Montana, and the Western Great Lakes, arguing 
that the rule had been politically motivated and did not comply 
with certain provisions of the ESA.\8\ The U.S. District Court 
for the District of Montana held that the rule was a 
``political solution that does not comply with ESA'' and that 
delisting of a species which was still endangered in a portion 
of its historic range (Wyoming) was not appropriate.\9\ The 
delisting of the wolves was halted in all States until the 
Wyoming plan was acceptable to FWS.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\See, Defenders of Wildlife v. Salazar, 729 F. Supp. 2d 1207 (D. 
MT 2010). See also, Defenders of Wildlife v. Hall, 565 F.2d 1160 (D. 
Mont. 2008); Defenders of Wildlife v. Salazar, 354 F. Supp. 2d 1156 (D. 
Or. 2005).
    \9\Defenders of Wildlife v. Salazar, 729 F. Supp. 2d 1227, 1228 (D. 
MT 2010).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Congressman Michael K. Simpson (R-ID) and Senator Jon 
Tester (D-MT) sponsored a provision in the Fiscal Year 2012 
Consolidated Appropriations bill clarifying Congressional 
intent to remove the recovered wolves in Idaho and Montana from 
the endangered species list, and return the species to State 
management.\10\ Provisions to delist the wolf and allow States 
to retain management authority have been included in 
appropriations acts each successive year.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\Press Release, Rep. Mike Simpson, Simpson's Wolf Language 
Included in Final 
Funding Bill (Apr. 12, 2011), available at http://simpson.house.gov/
News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=235258. See also, Consolidated 
Appropriations Act 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-74 (2011), available at 
https://www.congress.gov/resources/display/content/
Appropriations+for+Fiscal+Year+2012#AppropriationsforFiscalYear2012-
omnibusappropriations).
    \11\HR 1473 (112th Cong.); H.R. 2584 (112th Cong.); H.R. 6091 
(112th Cong.); H.R. 5538 (114th Cong.).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Populations of gray wolves present in the Western Great 
Lakes increased in number through the 1990s and 2000s. FWS 
delisted wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan in a new 
rule in 2011.\12\ Wyoming wolves were delisted by FWS in 
2012.\13\ Wolves in Wyoming and in the Western Great Lakes 
region were, however, re-listed in 2014 due to additional court 
decisions that challenged the adequacy of State management 
plans.\14\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\See, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Gray Wolf Recovery in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan 
(2011) (available at: https://www.fws.gov/midwest/wolf/aboutwolves/
r3wolfrec.htm) and Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 
Revising the Listing of the Gray Wolf (Canis Lupus) in the Western 
Great Lakes, 76 Fed. Reg. 81666 (Dec. 28, 2011) (available at: https://
www.fws.gov/midwest/wolf/archives/2011FinalDelisting/pdf/
FR_grwoWGLDelist28Dec2011.pdf).
    \13\Endangered and Threatened Plants; Removal of the Gray Wolf in 
Wyoming from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and 
Removal of the Wyoming Wolf Population's Status as an Experimental 
Population, 76 Fed. Reg. 81666 (Sep. 10, 2012).
    \14\See, Humane Society v. Jewell, 2014 WL 7237702 (D.D.C 2014), 
and Defenders of Wildlife v. Jewell, 2014 WL 4714847 (D.D.C. 2014).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the 2014 
decision on March 3, 2017, regarding gray wolves in Wyoming 
only.\15\ FWS published a final rule delisting them in 
accordance with the court order on May 1, 2017, and Wyoming 
wolves are again managed by the State of Wyoming.\16\ As such, 
this bill would safeguard the FWS' delisting decision from 
litigious groups' lawsuits by exempting this delisting from 
judicial review. On August 1, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court of 
Appeals issued a ruling upholding a U.S. District Court order 
overruling FWS' determination that the wolves had sufficiently 
recovered within the Western Great Lakes region.\17\ This bill 
would direct the Secretary of the Interior to reissue the rule 
to delist the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes region and 
exempt this rule from judicial review to prevent continued 
litigation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \15\Defenders of Wildlife et al v. Zinke, No. 14-5300, 2017 (D.C. 
Cir. Mar. 3, 2017) at https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/
opinions.nsf/E2381C96826F09F4852580D80057B29F/$file/14-5300-
1664135.pdf.
    \16\Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reinstatement of 
Removal of Federal Protections for Gray Wolves in Wyoming, 82 Fed. Reg. 
20284-85 (May 1, 2017).
    \17\Humane Society of the United States v. U.S. Secretary of the 
Interior, (2017). https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/
9EDB5CE0814D2B948525816F00511636/$file/15-5041.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Finally, the last section of this bill seeks to empower the 
States to manage their individual gray wolf populations by 
directing the Secretary to issue a rule to delist the gray wolf 
in each of the 48 contiguous States and the District of 
Columbia. To ensure that States are provided certainty when 
developing State management plans, this bill would also exempt 
this delisting decision from judicial review.
    The gray wolf delisting issue is not a new one for Congress 
and has been bipartisan. As mentioned above, appropriations 
riders affecting the gray wolf have been enacted since 2012. In 
the 112th Congress, Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) introduced 
H.R. 509, Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-MI) introduced H.R. 
1819, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced S. 249 and Senator 
Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced S. 321--all affected gray wolves. 
In the 114th Congress, Congressman Reid J. Ribble (R-WI) 
introduced a similar bill,\18\ and Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) 
introduced S. 2281. The Department of the Interior, Environment 
and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017 (H.R. 5538) 
included a provision to prohibit the use of federal funds to 
list the gray wolf under the ESA in the lower 48 States after 
June 13, 2017.\19\ Also during the 114th Congress, the House 
passed the SHARE Act (H.R. 2406) in February 2016, which 
included the directive to reissue gray wolf rules for the 
Western Great Lakes and Wyoming.\20\ The wolf provisions from 
the SHARE Act were also included in the House amendment to the 
North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016 
(S. 2012).\21\ In the 115th Congress, Congressman Collin 
Peterson (D-MN) introduced a gray wolf bill (H.R. 424); the 
Natural Resources Committee reported the bill favorably on 
January 8, 2018.\22\ Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) also introduced 
a gray wolf bill, S. 164, this Congress.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \18\H.R. 884, 114th Cong. (2015).
    \19\Fiscal Year 2017 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, 
H.R. 5538, 114th 
Cong. (2016) (available at: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-
114hr5538eh/pdf/BILLS-114hr5538eh.pdf).
    \20\SHARE Act, H.R. 2406, 114th Cong. (2016) (available at https://
www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-114hr2406eh/pdf/BILLS-114hr2406eh.pdf).
    \21\North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016, 
S. 2012, 114th 
Cong. (2016) (available at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-
114s2012es/pdf/BILLS-114s2012es.pdf).
    \22\Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017, (2017). https://
www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-115hr424rh/pdf/BILLS-115hr424rh.pdf.
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                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 6784 was introduced on September 12, 2018, by 
Congressman Sean P. Duffy (R-WI). The bill was referred to the 
Natural Resources Committee. On September 26, 2018, the Natural 
Resources Committee met to consider the bill. No amendments 
were offered, and the bill was ordered favorably reported to 
the House of Representatives by a roll call vote of 19 yeas and 
15 nays, as follows:


            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

      COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII AND CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT

    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, October 12, 2018.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 6784, the Manage 
our Wolves Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Janani 
Shankaran.
            Sincerely,
                                             Mark P. Hadley
                                        (For Keith Hall, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 6784--Manage our Wolves Act

    H.R. 6784 would direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(USFWS) to issue a rule that removes the gray wolf from the 
endangered species list in the 48 contiguous states and to 
reissue a 2011 rule that delisted the gray wolf in the Western 
Great Lakes. The bill also would prohibit judicial review of 
those rules and of a recently reinstated 2012 rule delisting 
the gray wolf in Wyoming.
    According to USFWS, the agency is reviewing the status of 
the gray wolf in the 48 contiguous states. If the agency 
determines that the species has exceeded recovery goals, it 
will propose a rule to delist the gray wolf. Conversely, if the 
finding is that recovery goals are unmet, the agency will not 
propose a rule. Using information from USFWS, CBO estimates 
that directing USFWS to issue a rule to remove the grey wolf 
from the endangered species list would cost less than $500,000; 
such spending would be subject to the availability of 
appropriated funds.
    Under current law, plaintiffs who challenge the federal 
government under the Endangered Species Act may be entitled to 
the repayment of attorneys' fees. Such payments are made from 
the federal government's Judgment Fund, which has a permanent 
indefinite appropriation. By prohibiting judicial review, CBO 
expects, H.R. 6784 could reduce the number of civil actions 
that otherwise would be filed and thus the potential for 
payments from the Judgment Fund. Based on the amount of such 
payments in the past, CBO estimates that any decrease in direct 
spending would be insignificant over the 2019-2028 period.
    Because enacting H.R. 6784 could affect direct spending, 
pay-as-you-go procedures apply. The bill would not affect 
revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 6784 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    H.R. 6784 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    On November 8, 2017, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for 
H.R. 424, the Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017, as 
ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources on 
October 4, 2017. Both pieces of legislation contain similar 
provisions, but H.R. 6784 would require USFWS to issue a new 
rule and would prohibit judicial review of that rule. The 
estimates of budgetary effects reflect those differences.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Janani 
Shankaran. The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
     2. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required 
by clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to provide for the removal of the 
gray wolf in the contiguous 48 States from the List of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife published under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973.

                            EARMARK STATEMENT

     This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

     This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                        COMPLIANCE WITH H. RES. 5

     Directed Rule Making. Section 2 of this bill directs the 
Secretary of the Interior to reissue a regulation regarding 
gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes. Section 3 of the bill 
directs the Secretary of the Interior to issue a regulation to 
remove the gray wolf from the List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife that would apply to each of the 48 contiguous States.
     Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

                PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW

     This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                         CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

     If enacted, this bill would make no changes to existing 
law.

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

     H.R. 6784 would remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) 
protections for gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes region 
and in the contiguous 48 States and prevent judicial review of 
a recent federal court decision upholding a U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (FWS) rule to delist wolves in Wyoming. The 
bill short-circuits the science-based ESA process of 
determining when species are recovered to the point that 
protections can be removed.
     Gray wolves currently enjoy ESA protections in the lower 
48 outside of Wyoming and the Northern Rocky Mountains area 
where they were legislatively delisted. Historically, gray 
wolves were present throughout most of the continental United 
States, Canada, and northern Mexico, but because they were 
viewed as a threat to livestock, wolves were hunted to the 
brink of extinction. By 1965, wolves had been nearly extirpated 
from the continental United States. By the time they received 
ESA protection in the early 1970s, only several hundred gray 
wolves remained in the wild in northern Minnesota and Michigan. 
While the population of the gray wolf has increased, the 
species currently only occupies five percent of its historic 
range in the lower 48 states. Gray wolves can only be found in 
the Great Lakes, northern Rockies, and Pacific Northwest.
     Wolves still face persecution from hunters and 
agricultural interests and are only beginning to recolonize 
areas where they were long a critical part of ecosystems. The 
continued threat to wolves is evidenced by the fact that in the 
states where Congress delisted the species in 2011, more than 
5,000 wolves have been killed.
     This legislation would strike a damaging blow to the 
continued recovery of gray wolves in the contiguous 48 states. 
For these reasons, we oppose the bill as reported.

                                    Raul M. Grijalva,
                                            Ranking Member, Committee 
                                               on Natural Resources.
                                    Niki Tsongas.
                                    Jared Huffman.
                                    A. Donald McEachin.
                                    Wm. Lacy Clay.
                                    Nanette Diaz Barragan.
                                    Donald S. Beyer, Jr.

                                  [all]