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Press Release

After No Response, Committee Advances Investigation Into Grizzly Bear Mismanagement

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Paul Gosar (R- Ariz.) led a letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Martha Williams and National Park Service (NPS) Director Charles Sams continuing the committee's investigation into the administration’s troubling decision to relocate grizzly bears to the North Cascades Ecosystem in the State of Washington. In part, the members wrote:

"The House Committee on Natural Resources is continuing to conduct oversight related to the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule, Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Grizzly Bear in the North Cascades Ecosystem, Washington State. This final rule establishes a nonessential experimental population of grizzly bear within the North Cascades Ecosystem in the State of Washington and a related Grizzly Bear Restoration Plan/Environmental Impact Statement. 

“The Committee’s May 3, 2024, letter to NPS and FWS requested documents, communications, and information critical to the Committee’s ongoing investigation. The Committee received confirmation of receipt from the Department of the Interior (DOI) on May 14, 2024. The Department was provided a deadline of May 16, 2024, for responding to the Committee’s requests. As of this writing, none of the requests enumerated in the Committee letter have been answered—nor have any productions in response to those requests been received.

"The Committee is deeply troubled by NPS’ and FWS’ torpor. Your agencies possess information important to understanding the rationale for your decisions in this matter. If NPS and FWS fail to comply with the Committee’s legitimate oversight requests, we will be forced to evaluate the use of the compulsory process."

Read the full letter here


For decades, residents of Northern Washington have opposed this unnecessary action due to the potential for negative consequences for communities in Eastern Washington state, including danger to people, local wildlife, livestock and crops. As a result, the Trump administration declined to reintroduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades ecosystem.

Yet on April 25, 2024, FWS and NPS decided to actively reintroduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades of Washington. On May 3, the Department of the Interior released the final rule effective June 3, 2024. Among other items, the final rule will attempt to capture and transport three to seven bears per year to establish an initial target population of 25 bears in Washington state.

The committee has not received any information initially requested on May 3, 2024.

Read the letter on the committee's initial investigation here.