Peterson Leads Call for Emergency Resources for Minnesota Wolf Depredation

Mar 6, 2015 Issues: Congressional Issues

WASHINGTON – Congressman Collin C. Peterson today led a bipartisan coalition urging emergency resources be made available for wolf depredation efforts in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Reps. Rick Nolan, Tim Walz, John Kline and Tom Emmer joined Peterson in making the request to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“We believe this support will help address concerns with problem wolves in the short-term as we pursue a long-term solution to return wolves to state management,” the members of Congress wrote.

A December 2014 U.S. District Court decision reinstated gray wolves under the protections of the Endangered Species Act in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. This designation took away the ability for states to manage federally protected gray wolves but did nothing to restore the depredation services needed for individuals to protect their livelihoods. This leaves farmers and ranchers without a legal avenue to address wolves that are threatening their livestock.

Full text of the letter is below:

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

We respectfully request that emergency resources be made available for wolf depredation services in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. A recent U.S. District Court decision returned gray wolves under federal protection, leaving our constituents without a legal course of action to deal with predatory wolves. Without a depredation program in place, we are concerned that wolf attacks will remain unchecked, threatening the livelihoods of our constituents.

When wolves were previously listed under Endangered Species Act protections, the Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services depredation program provided trapping services for constituents who were having problems with predatory wolves. This program offered much-needed services that helped people everyday who felt the safety of their families, livestock, or pets were in jeopardy. The misguided court decision eliminated the ability for farmers to protect their livestock and does nothing to restore these critical depredation services.

To address this problem in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, we urge you to locate the resources necessary to run wolf depredation programs. In Fiscal Year 2010, the last year in which wolves were federally protected, the assets provided were critical to assisting with wolf damage management in these three states. We believe this support will help address concerns with problem wolves in the short-term as we pursue a long-term solution to return wolves to state management.

Farmers and ranchers across the Midwest should not be forced to choose between following the law and protecting their way of life. We look forward to working with you to restore wolf depredation programs that will bring much-needed relief to our constituents.

Sincerely,

U.S. Representative Collin Peterson, D-Minn.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
U.S. Representative Rick Nolan, D-Minn.
U.S. Representative Tim Walz, D-Minn.
U.S. Representative John Kline, D-Minn.
U.S. Representative Tom Emmer, R-Minn.
U.S. Representative Reid Ribble, R-Wis.
U.S. Representative Glenn Grothman, R-Wis.
U.S. Representative Sean Duffy, R-Wis.
U.S. Representative Ron Kind, D-Wis.
U.S. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.
U.S. Representative Dan Benishek, R-Mich.