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Peterson praises coalition's letter of support for bipartisan Gray Wolf State Management Act

Despite exceeding federal population recovery guidelines, wolves in Minnesota remain protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. (Photo/ Gary Kramer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)1 / 2
U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.2 / 2

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson on Wednesday praised the efforts of 19 agriculture and sportsmen's organizations that collectively sent a letter to urge Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to place H.R. 424, the Gray Wolf State Management Act, on the House floor for a vote before the year's end.

"The issue of removing wolves from the endangered species list is long overdue," Peterson, D-Minn., said. "Cattlemen and farmers have not been able to protect their livestock due to a political court decision made in Washington, D.C., that overturned a science-based decision made under the Obama Administration demonstrating wolf recovery in our area. Since then, ranchers lost calves during calving season, witnessed decreasing livestock numbers, and even had their pets killed. I am thankful for the coalition support and hope to get my bill passed by the end of the year."

Last year, the Gray Wolf State Management Act passed through the House Committee on Natural Resources on a bipartisan vote and is simply awaiting Speaker Paul Ryan's decision to place the bill on the House floor calendar. Similar language has already proven its ability to pass the House several times over the past few years.

The text of the letter reads as follows:

Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader McCarthy,

We are writing you to urge immediate floor consideration of H.R. 424, the Gray Wolf State Management Act, so that our farmers and ranchers can finally secure relief from devastating wolf attacks on their livestock.

Currently, families living in rural America have no legal actions available to deal with gray wolf attacks due to their federally protected status. The Gray Wolf State Management Act would delist gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes states and Wyoming from federal protections and return their management to the states. The bill is supported by a bipartisan group of 18 Members of Congress and 19 agriculture and conservation organizations listed below, so we believe this legislation can lead as a prime example of bipartisanship working in Congress.

This bill must be passed before the fast-approaching end of this Congressional session. If the bill does not get scheduled for a floor vote soon, we lose this time-sensitive opportunity to fix this problem created back in December 2014. We will be monitoring floor activity closely and hope the urgency of our request is taken under your consideration.

We look forward to working with you on moving H.R. 424 through Congress and ultimately receiving a Presidential signature.

The following organizations make up the coalition and signed the letter supporting the Gray Wolf State Management Act:

• American Farm Bureau Federation.

• American Sheep Industry Association.

• Michigan Cattlemen's Association.

• Michigan Farm Bureau.

• Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.

• Minnesota Farm Bureau.

• Minnesota Farmers Union.

• Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers.

• Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association.

• Minnesota Turkey Growers.

• National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

• National Farmers Union.

• Public Lands Council.

• Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

• Upper Peninsula Sportsmen's Alliance.

• Upper Peninsula Trappers Association.

• United States Cattlemen's Association.

• Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association.

• Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.