On May 16, Governor Polis vetoed SB 23-256.
CWF had supported the bill and is disappointed by the veto. Here was our letter to the editor:
We respectfully urge Governor Polis to sign wolf reintroduction timing bill into law. Our organization, Colorado Wildlife Federation, supports Senate Bill 23-256 to enable responsible reintroduction of wolves as detailed in the Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan adopted by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission earlier this month. The Plan was developed pursuant to passage of Proposition 114, through a lengthy process by Colorado Parks and Wildlife with investment of significant financial resources and extensive input by a Technical Working Group, Stakeholder Advisory Committee and the public. The Plan provides the state with tools and flexibility necessary to gain a sustainable reintroduction, and includes protection for Colorado’s agricultural producers. Unfortunately, after development of Colorado’s Plan was underway, the wolf became listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. To conduct reintroduction using the state Plan, US Fish and Wildlife Service needs to issue what is called a “10 j” designation which will classify wolves as a “nonessential experimental population.” If reintroduction were to begin without this designation, the federal government would possess the sole, rigid management authority over the reintroduced population, negating application of the tools and flexibility provided in the state Plan. This troublesome scenario will occur if the final 10j is not issued in time for reintroduction that is to begin by December 31 under Proposition 114. Therefore, to remedy this problem SB 23-256, sponsored by Senators Will and Roberts and Representatives Lukens and Soper, requires issuance of a final 10 j designation before reintroduction. We urge that you join us in our request that Governor Polis sign SB23-256 into law.