Washington State Farmers Concerned About Grizzlies

The National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released an environmental impact statement on options to restore grizzlies in the North Cascades area of Washington state.

The two agencies say the last grizzly bear sighting in the North Cascade Mountains was in 1996. The bear idea has Washington farmers very concerned. At a House Ag Subcommittee hearing, Rep Dan Newhouse of Washington asked Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack if USDA had been consulted on the proposal. Vilsack thought USDA had but preferred to leave the final decision to the Interior Department. Newhouse says farmers are worried that bears will move out of the zone they’re released in.

“The Interior Department that oversees the two agencies is shutting out the voices of my constituents who had expressed serious concerns about the proposals,” Newhouse said. The NCBA and Public Lands Council say they “condemn” the plan to release the bears.