If you’re a Minnesotan like me, you’ll likely be surprised to hear that U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat, is joining Republican ranks by sponsoring legislation to strip our state’s gray wolves of Endangered Species Act protections.

Rep. Peterson’s bill (H.R. 424) would reinstate a 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision that removed endangered species protections from wolves in the western Great Lakes states.

Adkins claims it’s all about science, not politics or the courts. But the DNR’s carefully calibrated state management of gray wolves was working well by most accounts before the federal courts took charge again.

Perhaps Adkins and other environmental hard-liners see more of a threat to their political influence than anything else. Sure sounds like it.

In seeking to gut or repeal the Endangered Species Act, congressional Republicans — and in this case our Rep. Peterson — are woefully out of step with the public. Most Americans overwhelmingly support strong protections for endangered species, and they recognize that this incredibly successful law has saved the gray wolf, the bald eagle, the humpback whale and others from extinction.

Now is not the time to weaken environmental laws — not with a Trump administration in the White House and politicians in Congress who would rather line their pockets with campaign funds from special-interest groups than protect our wildlife and wild places.