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The Latest: Lawmakers put wolves, species law in crosshairs

September 26, 2018
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FILE - This June 29, 2017, file remote camera image released by the U.S. Forest Service shows a female gray wolf and two of the three pups born this year in the wilds of Lassen National Forest in Northern California. Republicans in the U.S. House are pushing legislation that would strip wolves of their federal protections across the contiguous U.S. A House committee on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018, is scheduled to consider a slate of changes to the Endangered Species Act, a 1973 law meant to shields plants and animals from possible extinction. (U.S. Forest Service via AP, File)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on Congress considering changes to the Endangered Species Act in the wake of a ruling that restored protections for grizzly bears (all times local):

9:45 a.m.

Lawmakers in Congress have advanced a proposal to strip protections from gray wolves across the contiguous U.S. amid a push by Republicans for broad changes to the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee approved the measure from Wisconsin Republican Rep. Sean Duffy on Wednesday, sending it to the full House.

It’s a signal of growing frustration among Republicans over court actions restoring protections for species that government scientists declared to be recovered.

The latest case is a ruling this week restoring protections for grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park, blocking public hunts of the bears in Wyoming and Idaho.

Federal officials removed protections for wolves in the Great Lakes region in 2011, before a court restored protections in 2014.

Wolves are not federally protected in the Northern Rockies.

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8:15 a.m.

A court ruling that blocked grizzly bear hunts in the Northern Rockies is galvanizing Republicans eager to overhaul the Endangered Species Act. But Congress is poised first to deal with a separate animal — gray wolves.

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney is proposing to remove protections for grizzly bears in the Northern Rockies, but that won’t be discussed at a Wednesday House hearing as had been expected.

Lawmakers instead will consider a measure to remove protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states. That bill from Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy would prevent lawsuits that could overturn the move.

Monday’s ruling restored grizzly protections in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso says it’s “the prime example” of why broad changes to the endangered act are needed.

7:20 a.m.

A court ruling that blocked grizzly bear hunts in the U.S. West carries far wider political implications amid a push by Congress for sweeping changes to how imperiled species are managed.

A House committee on Wednesday is scheduled to begin considering changes to the Endangered Species Act.

Lawmakers who back the idea also want to remove protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears and wolves in the Great Lakes region and prevent those actions from being challenged in court by wildlife advocates.

Monday’s ruling restored grizzly protections in and around Yellowstone National Park. It’s been seized on by Republicans as the latest example of supposed flaws to a 1973 law meant to shields plants and animals from possible extinction.

It likely will force federal wildlife officials to reconsider their piecemeal approach to restoring bruins across the Northern Rockies.

12:30 a.m.

A court ruling that blocked grizzly bear hunts in the U.S. West carries far wider political implications amid a push by Congress for sweeping changes to how imperiled species are managed.

Monday’s ruling restored grizzly protections in and around Yellowstone National Park. It likely will force federal wildlife officials to reconsider their piecemeal approach to restoring bruins across the Northern Rockies.

It’s being seized on by Republicans as the latest example of supposed flaws to the Endangered Species Act, a 1973 law meant to shields plants and animals from possible extinction.

A House committee on Wednesday is scheduled to begin considering a slate of changes to the law. Included is a proposal from Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney to strip Yellowstone grizzly bears of their protections and prevent further court review.

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