Chairman Newhouse Introduces Legislation to Stop the Biden Administration from Introducing Grizzly Bears to the North Cascades

Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) introduced legislation which would withdraw the National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed 10(j) rule and the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Draft Grizzly Bear Restoration Plan.
“Central Washingtonians have consistently voiced their concerns and opposition over the introduction of grizzly bears into the North Cascades Ecosystem, yet unelected bureaucrats from the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service continue to try to force these predators upon our communities,” said Chairman Newhouse. “These agencies should listen to the people who would be most impacted by these actions and immediately withdraw their proposed rule and draft EIS statement so members of the region can rest safely knowing that an 800 pound apex predator is not going to enter into their backyard.”
Click here to read the full text of the bill.

  • The North Cascades Grizzly Bear Restoration Plan/Environmental Impact Statement was first proposed by the Obama Administration. Central Washington communities surrounding the North Cascades National Park were not provided an adequate opportunity to give their input on the proposal. 
  • In March 2017, Rep. Newhouse wrote to North Cascades National Park Service Superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich to express opposition to the plan, citing an inadequate level of local community input and encouraging federal agencies to defer to state and local authorities on grizzly bear management efforts.
  • On April 12, 2018, Rep. Newhouse wrote a letter to former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, expressing his deep concern regarding the then-Secretary’s support for the proposal. 
  • On June 6, 2018, the House Appropriations Committee approved Rep. Newhouse’s amendment to the FY19 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that would deny funding to the U.S. Department of Interior to be used for the transport of grizzly bears in the North Cascades until local communities had the chance to adequately submit their public comments. The amendment was included in the passage of the final FY19 Interior Appropriations language.
  • On July 19, 2018, the full House of Representatives approved legislation containing Rep. Newhouse’s amendment to deny funding used for the transport of grizzly bears in the North Cascades.
  • In October 2019, hundreds of North Central Washington residents attended a public listening session – requested by Rep. Newhouse – in Okanogan, Washingtonwhere officials from the Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife listened to local concerns on the proposal to introduce grizzly bears into the North Cascades Ecosystem.
  • U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Fish & Wildlife Rob Wallace was at the Okanogan County Fairgrounds Agriplex as many of the more than 600 North Central Washington residents provided up to two minutes of oral comment on the record. As reported by Capital Press, 50 people spoke in opposition to grizzly bear introduction, and 12 people spoke in support. 
  • On July 7, 2020, Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary David Bernhardt visited North Central Washington, where he announced after following the federal rulemaking process, reviewing hundreds of local public comments, and hosting a public comment listening session in Okanogan County, DOI concluded that grizzly bears will not be introduced into the North Cascades Ecosystem.
  • On November 10, 2022, the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced initiation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process with four virtual meetings to evaluate options for restoring and managing grizzly bears in the North Cascades of Washington.
  • Over 6,200 comments were received on the draft EIS, with the vast majority coming from outside of Washington state.
  • On September 28, 2023, the U.S. National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced their intention to seek public comment on a proposed rule under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act related to the potential introduction of grizzly bears in the North Cascades.
  • On October 6, 2023, Rep. Newhouse demanded the U.S. National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service extend their public comment period to accommodate locals who want to respond to the Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Grizzly Bear in the North Cascades Ecosystem in Washington State proposal.

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