H.R. 764 would require the Secretary of the Interior within 60 days of the bill’s enactment to reissue a final rule, “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removing the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife,” which was submitted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and published in the Federal Register on November 3, 2020. The bill also would prohibit judicial review of that rule. The rule removed from the list all gray wolves (except the Mexican wolf) in the continental United States and Mexico, effective January 4, 2021. A court order in February 2022 reinstated the gray wolves’ protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA); they are currently listed as threatened in Minnesota and endangered elsewhere.
USFWS is authorized to collect permitting fees for lawful activities that involve protected species, including scientific research, conservation, and unintentional taking of the animals while performing permitted activities. Under H.R. 764, permits would no longer be required for activities involving gray wolves in the continental United States. Permitting fees are recorded in the budget as offsetting receipts (reductions in direct spending) and are available to be spent without further appropriation. Using information from USFWS, CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 764 would reduce those receipts and the consequent spending by an insignificant amount over the 2024-2033 period.