Two U.S. senators from Arizona want state wildlife authorities and ranchers — including those in New Mexico — to have more say in how the federal government manages endangered Mexican gray wolves.
Arizona Republicans John McCain and Jeff Flake have introduced legislation that would push the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to work more closely with states to revamp a decades-old recovery plan for the wolves.
If the agency fails, states would have authority to step in.
The senators say tens of millions of dollars have been spent on reintroducing wolves in Arizona and New Mexico and the population is still struggling.
The legislation comes as federal wildlife managers consider expanding the wolf’s range and as landowners and some local elected leaders push back against what they describe as the trampling of private property and water rights.
Environmentalists argue the legislation is a political ploy.