Amid Blowback, Gov. Kate Brown Says She Opposes Removal of Gray Wolves From Endangered Species List

“The conclusion that Oregon or its agencies support delisting the wolf based on our own success is incorrect.” Brown wrote.

Gov. Kate Brown today sent a letter to the federal government pulling back Oregon's support of delisting the gray wolf from the Endangered Species list.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, she wrote that the support indicated last week by Oregon's top wildlife official for the gray wolf's proposed delisting was misguided and incorrect.

Related: Oregon On Board With Federal Plan to Remove Gray Wolf From Endangered Species List

"I am writing to clarify and correct a position outlined in a May 9, 2019 letter from the ODFW that the State of Oregon and its agencies do not support the delisting of wolves from the federal Endangered Species Act across their range in the 48 contiguous states," Brown wrote.

She acknowledged that ODFW has helped recover wolf populations, but said it is incorrect that those efforts alone are enough.

"I have notified [ODFW] and am herein informing you that the conclusion that Oregon or its agencies support delisting the wolf based on own success is incorrect," Brown wrote.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Curtis Melcher's May 9 letter drew quick outrage from conservation groups earlier this week.

They say that Brown, who oversees ODFW, is not upholding her commitment to be a "green wall" against Trump administration attacks on environmental interests.

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer also chimed in today with a letter to Melcher and Brown, condemning the state's position of support of gray wolf delisting.

Related: Congressman Calls Oregon's Support of Removing Gray Wolf From Endangered Species Act a "Death Sentence"

A spokesperson for Brown, Kate Kondayen, says the governor was not aware of Melcher's letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"Governor Brown was not aware of ODFW's correspondence with the federal government and corrected it when she became aware of it," Kondayen says.

In her letter, Brown clarified today: "Our commitment to the Oregon way gives me great confidence that wolves are on the path to recovery and do not warrant a listing within Oregon, but their listing under the federal Endangered Species Act affords them some protection across their range."

She concluded: "Oregon supports the current federal listing for gray wolves, and opposes delisting."

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