On Friday, the Biden administration rejected Idaho's proposal to remove grizzly bears from the protection of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). However, Montana and Wyoming were more successful with their delisting petitions and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will spend a year collecting data to determine if the populations in the Greater Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide ecosystems are healthy enough to be taken off federal management and put under state management.
The decision was met with criticism from Idaho Gov. Brad Little, who had threatened to sue the agency for failing to respond within 90 days, and from Sen. Jim Risch and Rep. Russ Fulcher, who argued that the grizzly bear population in Idaho has recovered. Conservation groups have expressed concern that delisting the bears could lead to hunting and other threats to recovery. The USFWS has twice delisted the Yellowstone population, only to have the ESA protections restored following successful lawsuits by environmental groups.