Lummis Urges Fish and Wildlife Director to Work Quickly to Delist GYE Grizzly Bear

May 17, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) pushed for a status update on Wyoming’s petition to delist the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) Grizzly Bear during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing. During the hearing, Lummis also questioned Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Martha Williams for more information on critical habitat designations under the Endangered Species Act and wildlife migration corridors.  

“The Fish and Wildlife Service is now four months overdue on the 12-month review of Wyoming’s delisting petition for the Greater Yellowstone Grizzly Bear. I urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to act with all vigor on this petition. The Greater Yellowstone grizzly has been recovered for 20 years, yet it is still on the list,” said Senator Lummis. “To me, that negates the whole purpose of the Endangered Species Act when it’s been acknowledged that the recovery numbers have been consistently met and exceeded since 2003, yet this species is still listed.” 

In 1975, there were 136 grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In 2022, experts estimated that nearly 1,000 bears were living in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, evidence of an effective conservation effort. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team’s analysis suggests that Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area is at or near its ecological carrying capacity for grizzly bears.  

Senator Lummis also sought answers regarding the Biden administration’s efforts to change the definition of “habitat” for the purposes of designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act. This action would cause uncertainty for private landowners in Wyoming and cause harm to species recovery.  

The Senate voted on and passed a Congressional Review Act resolution introduced by Senator Lummis to disapprove of the FWS rule changing the definition of habitat. It will now be voted on by the House of Representatives where it is expected to pass.  

To view her full line of questioning, click here.