Colorado Governor Hints Wolf Bill Veto That Could Take Management Away From CPW

DENVER, CO, May 10, 2023 —Although two bipartisan wolf bills passed through a contentious legislative session in Colorado, a veto on the one that is arguably vitally important to the agriculture community may be forthcoming.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has until June 7 to sign, veto, or allow bills to become law without his signature. Asked during a May 9 press conference whether he’ll veto SB23-256, Gov. Jared Polis alluded to a veto, telling press members “there shouldn’t be a lot of suspense on that one.” 

He said Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Dan Gibbs testified against the bill that would require the secretary of the Interior to issue a 10(j) rule. Proponents of the 10(j), which Polis has supported and Colorado Parks and Wildlife has applied for, recognize the added flexibility the rule affords CPW. Polis, though, said he wants to honor the will of the voters who narrowly passed Prop 114 which approves wolf reintroduction by the end of the calendar year.

Wolves are currently listed as endangered species, meaning if and when ranchers witness livestock being attacked or killed, they are unable to kill the wolf or wolves. The 10(j) rule would allow wolves to be classified as a nonessential, experimental population and would allow CPW to manage the species, rather than U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

According to an ongoing investigation by 9 News, Colorado has not yet reached an agreement with other states to provide donor wolves. Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said he disagrees with the reintroduction and will not provide wolves. Officials in other states say they have not been in discussions with CPW, begging the question of where the wolves will come from.

Source: Rachel Gabel