Wolf bills lose litigation portion, keep 10j requirement

April 19, 2023

Sen. Dylan Robert, D-Avon, said the introduced version of SB 256 clarifies that wolf reintroduction in Colorado cannot happen until a 10j is granted by the federal government. A provision also prevented reintroduction until the period for litigation was completed, a six-year span.

“There is a six-year statute of limitations for someone to file a lawsuit against a 10j and the concern from the Governor’s office and from pro-wolf groups is that portion of the bill would mean wolf reintroduction would be delayed for 6 years because somebody could wait until the end of that six-year period and then file a lawsuit.”

Roberts referred to that portion as the litigation portion of the bill, and said it was removed by way of an amendment. The remaining portion still requires a 10j be in place prior to reintroduction. 


“We think it is still a very strong bill that will protect Colorado’s interests and protect farmers and ranchers who have to deal with the impact of the wolves because they need a 10j and I desperately do not want CPW to introduce wolves without a 10j and that’s what the bill still says,” he said.

He said the environmental groups, lawyers, and the state will work through the litigation that is sure to be forthcoming once a 10j is received. However, Roberts said he is confident once the 10j is received, it will remain in effect even once litigation is filed. He said, even as amended, the bill is strong and has the support of ag groups, sportsmen, and is an important assurance to those affected.

Roberts said he and other legislators have received hundreds, if not thousands of emails from constituents requesting that they support SB 255 and SB 256. He said there has been some opposition, though it is primarily from the Front Range, with none from his district.

“The people who do have to live with this, my constituents, my friends, my neighbors, are the ones who are asking for, I think, a very reasonable thing which is to wait until the 10j comes before (reintroduction.)”

Though he said he hasn’t heard directly from the Governor, because the CPW supports the 10j and has been actively applying for it and supporting it in public meetings, Roberts said he hopes this bill will be an easy one for him to sign. The bill is sponsored by Roberts and Sen. Perry Will, R-New Castle, and in the House House by Reps. Meghan Lukens, D- Steamboat Springs, and Matt Soper, R- Delta, with strong bipartisan support, passing the Senate 28-6.

“There’s been a lot of misinformation put out there by the pro-wolf advocate groups about what this bill does and doesn’t do, but if you actually read the bill and look at the intent, it’s simply about giving the ranchers who have to deal with this reality of wolf introduction, the proper tools to manage their livelihoods and also a good tool for CPW to manage the species.”

Roberts said the intent of the bill is not to frustrate the will of the voters. His constituents, though unhappy about the outcome, recognize that Proposition 114 passed. He said both bills are about implementing the ballot measure correctly, something Colorado does all the time.

“When we passed marijuana in 2012, the legislature passed bills to implement that, when voters passed paid family leave in 2020, we’ve been passing bills here to implement that,” he said. “This is how the process should work in Colorado. Voters state their intent through ballot initiative, and the legislature clarifies and ensures that it gets implemented correctly so I really hope the Governor can agree with us that this is the right thing to do and a normal course of practice with the ballot initiatives in Colorado.”



Source: Western Ag Network