Gov. Polis vetoes Senate bill regarding gray wolf reintroduction
DENVER, Colo. (KKTV) - In late March, Senate Bill 256 would have made it so a final determination whether the gray wolf population is classified as experimental instead of endangered, which would ensure a 10(j) rule would be in place before wolves are reintroduced in Colorado.
After the governor’s veto, Sen. Dylan Roberts, a prime sponsor of the bill, said in a statement, “It is discouraging to see a bill that passed the legislature with such large bipartisan margins not become law.”
According to the statement made by Roberts, the 10(j) rule would have allowed for more flexibility in managing the species. Rebecca Burkhalter, an advocate for wolves, says she was unsure about how it would have impacted the reintroduction of the species to the state.
“This bill SB-256 really scared me because it truly had the potential to delay the re-introduction of gray wolves anywhere from a couple of years to a decade that amount of time isn’t tolerable for ecosystems and the gray wolves in the rest of the country,” Burkhalter said.
In 2020, Coloradans passed Proposition 144, which directed the Parks and Wildlife Commission to create a plan to reintroduce gray wolves to the state by the end of this year. The governor has argued the Senate bill would undermine the will of the voters, stating in his veto letter that the “management of the reintroduction of gray wolves into Colorado is best left to the Parks and Wildlife commission as the voters explicitly mandated.
CPW’s plan was approved on May 3 with their goal being “to recover and maintain a viable, self-sustaining wolf population in Colorado, while concurrently working to minimize wolf-related conflicts with domestic animals, other wildlife and people.”
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