"Leaders worry delisting could invite energy exploration in historic areas."
"On an early October day last fall, members of the Cheyenne, Blackfeet, Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes gathered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where a large piece of parchment lay unfurled on a wooden table. One by one, tribal representatives approached the front of the room where they put pen to paper, committing to restore and revitalize the threatened grizzly bear across North America.
Since then, some 125 tribal nations from the United States and Canada have signed the Grizzly Treaty, only the third international agreement of its kind in 150 years. The impetus for the treaty was the proposed removal of the Yellowstone grizzly from the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Tribal nations contend that the federal government ignored legally required rules to consult with tribes, and that removing federal protections for grizzlies could open their habitat up to energy development. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Yellowstone grizzly population has largely recovered from a population of around 300 in 1975 to nearly 700. However, tribes disagree, arguing that even if Yellowstone’s population has grown, other grizzlies in the lower 48 states are still vulnerable.
With a delisting decision expected in the coming weeks, tribes—backed by U.S. senators and congressmen—are making one final push to have their voices heard."