YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse has introduced a bill to remove the gray wolf from Endangered Species Act protections in Washington, Oregon and Utah.

The freshman lawmaker says removing wolves from the list is "long overdue" and would allow state wildlife officials to manage wolves more effectively.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports his bill would also prevent states from providing protections to wolves that are stronger than those found in the federal Endangered Species Act.

A spokesman for Conservation Northwest, which works on wolf recovery issues, calls the bill disappointing. Chase Gunnell says there are only a few wolves receiving federal protection in Washington and Oregon.