The Biden administration’s controversial plan to reintroduce grizzly bears into Washington State’s North Cascades may be derailed, thanks to legislation introduced this week by Congressman Dan Newhouse, an Evergreen State Republican who represents citizens in that region.
“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 Rep. Newhouse in a prepared statement. “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.”
According to Fox News, the Biden administration announced the proposal late last month, offering three options, two to restore grizzly populations and a third to take no action. The reintroduction plan aims to have at least 200 of the bruins eventually in the area “in the coming decades,” on a schedule of u,p to seven bears annually over the next five to ten years. Environmentalists, who apparently do not live in the area, want bears reintroduced, while local residents do not.
Rep. Newhouse’s bill may be read here.
Hugh Morrison, regional director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, was quoted by Fox News stating, “If this part of our natural heritage is restored, it should be done in a way that ensures communities, property, and the animals can all coexist peacefully.”
The last confirmed sighting of a grizzly in the North Cascades was reportedly in 1996. However, the bears are known to roam in the state, as confirmed by KREM2 News, which reported the capture of a grizzly in northern Stevens County last month.
Officials in Chelan County, which encompasses the north-central Cascades in central Washington, sent a letter to the National Park Service last December opposing the plan. They cited potential conflicts with recreational opportunities, development and public safety.
The reintroduction proposal first surfaced during the Obama administration, according to Newhouse’s office. Joe Biden was vice president then. The Trump administration reportedly nixed the idea, but now that Biden is in the White House, it is being revived.