Wyoming’s U.S. Senator John Barrasso, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, addressed a hearing titled “Successful State Stewardship: A Legislative Hearing to Examine S.614, the Grizzly Bear State Management Act.” During his comments, Barrasso spoke in favor of the Grizzly Bear State Management Act of 2019. Barrasso told the committee, “The grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is fully recovered.” Yet, Barrasso says a federal judge has overturned the most recent delisting rule, agreeing with a claim by environmental groups and other plaintiffs that even more studies were required. Barrasso told the committee that prior to the Trump administration, the Obama administration pointed out that the Yellowstone population had rebounded from as few as 136 bears in 1995, to over 700 now – and so should be delisted.
The Obama Administration said at that time, “Grizzly bears have more than doubled their range since the mid-1970s and now occupy more than 22,500 square miles of the ecosystem. They went on to say, stable population numbers for grizzly bears for more than a decade also indicate that the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is at or near its carrying capacity for the bears.”
As the grizzly bear has rebounded, Barrasso says conflicts with humans have increased and members of Wyoming’s Upper Green River Cattle Association have lost over 1,000 head of cattle since 1995, and he adds bear attacks on humans are increasing. Barrasso maintains that the Grizzly Bear State Management Act will help address this by giving back to states the authority they need – and have earned – to manage the grizzly bear.