Con. Bentz scorches Democrat members for wolves-before-ranchers

Congressman Cliff Bentz (OR-02) gave the following speech on the House floor in defense of America’s ranchers. This speech occurred during debate on H.R. 764 the “Trust the Science Act” which will delist the Gray Wolf from the Endangered Species Act in the Lower 48 states:

By U.S. Congressman Cliff Bentz
Press Release,

WATCH: Bentz Scorches Democrats for Putting Wolves Above Ranchers

“Thank you, Chair Westerman.

You know, I don’t think I’ve encountered such an amazing display of ignorance regarding the nature of a wolf. Until this afternoon. A wolf is not a pet dog. It’s not some schnauzer or golden retriever, or a dash hound. It is the truth of the matter, a natural born killer. That’s what it does for a living. That’s how it stays alive. It kills things, it eats them, and it does not kill them in a kind and humane fashion – it’s a wolf.

We would be led otherwise, to believe by what we’ve been hearing from the other side of the aisle. It’s obvious to me that those who have suggested that, that ranchers are apparently not to be concerned about – not having grown up on a ranch as did I. They don’t have a clue about what it’s like to have to get up in the middle of the night to try to go out and protect your livelihood from nocturnal killers like wolves. They don’t get it, they don’t want to get it. They don’t want to understand it because they don’t have to. The people I represent do have to deal with wolves back in Oregon. And in some of the most awkward situations. Highway 395 cuts my district basically in half, a district by the way, CD-2 in Oregon is bigger than the state of Washington. It is bisected by this highway and on one side, the wolves are listed and on the other they are not. In some places this highway runs right through the middle of a single-ownership ranch. So you can imagine the wolf kills an animal on one side where it’s protected and runs to the other side where it is not or vice versa. Hardly a situation that benefits folks trying to make a living.

To suggest that there’s a balance in Yellowstone, you haven’t read the most recent report about Yellowstone apparently. You should. There’s some argument that the wolf brought some sort of natural balance back to Yellowstone, not true. Read the report.

Mr. Speaker, I have a question, how many wolves are enough?

We have about 250, something like that, wolves in Oregon 25 packs that’s been determined to be adequate for survival of the wolf under the ESA. But we have 2500 to 3500 in Minnesota. That’s a few more than I think is necessary, don’t you Mr. Speaker? We have 60,000 wolves in Canada… 60,000, and the number is growing because it’s almost impossible to slow the growth down. We have five to six thousand wolves in Alaska. So, Mr. Speaker, how many wolves is enough? That’s really the question. We should be asking because the Endangered Species Act doesn’t require an abundance of these Natural Born Killers. It requires enough that we still have them around. No one’s disputing that. And to suggest that 90% of the wolves were killed in Idaho. Not true.

There are over 1000 Wolves still in Idaho to this day. The exact counts difficult. Wolves are smart, they’re intelligent creatures, they learn and so it becomes more and more and more difficult to control them. The reason they need to be delisted is so that we have some means of controlling an apex predator. An Apex predator. One of these things that once you have them they’re very hard to control and being listed makes it almost impossible. It’s odd when we have language in the report from the US Fish and Wildlife Service that states unequivocally.

I’m going to read for you page 15 of the report dated February 1 of 2024.

‘Specifically, now and until the foreseeable future wolves are likely to retain a healthy level of abundance, given the assumption that our model our analysis of projections indicate there is no risk of quasi-extinction in the next 100 years on any of our future scenarios. Under any.’

This is US Fish and Wildlife talking.

‘More specifically, according to the population projections for forecasting model incorporates Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, minimum management commitments from delisting we project there will be at least 739 Wolves throughout Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and we’re for the next 100 years.’

Mr. Speaker of course we need delisting is the way that we are going to be able to protect, if at all, and control the number of wolves that now inhabit the United States. With that, I yield back.”