Court: Dual lawsuits will proceed over Wyoming wolves

2013-04-23T16:22:00Z 2013-05-21T10:18:14Z Court: Dual lawsuits will proceed over Wyoming wolvesThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 23, 2013 4:22 pm  • 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A recent ruling by a federal judge means that two parallel lawsuits will continue to run in Cheyenne and Washington, D.C., over environmental groups' challenges to the federal government's transfer of wolf management to the state of Wyoming, lawyers say.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington this month denied a request from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state of Wyoming to transfer one lawsuit to federal court in Cheyenne, where a similar case already is pending.

Environmental groups in both lawsuits claim Wyoming's management plan classifying wolves as predators that can be shot on sight in most of the state is inadequate. They want the courts to restore federal protections.

Wyoming's wolf management plan allows trophy hunting in a flexible zone along the border of Yellowstone National Park. The state game department recently reported that hunters killed 68 wolves in the state from Oct. 1, when federal management stopped, through Dec. 31. Of those, 42 were killed in a trophy hunting zone bordering Yellowstone National Park, while 26 were killed as unprotected predators elsewhere in the state.

The game department is proposing to reduce wolf hunting quotas by half for this fall's hunting season. An agency official told the Casper Star-Tribune recently that the state's wolf population couldn't withstand another similar hunting season like last year's without coming dangerously close to the required minimum set in Wyoming's delisting plan.

Wyoming must maintain at least 10 breeding pairs of wolves and at least 100 animals outside of Yellowstone and the Wind River Indian Reservation. Wildlife managers say the state had about 300 wolves outside of Yellowstone, where no hunting is allowed, when state management began Oct. 1.

Ralph Henry, deputy director of litigation with The Humane Society of the United States in Washington, D.C., said Tuesday that his group is pleased that Jackson refused the request from the federal wildlife agency and Wyoming to transfer his group's lawsuit to Wyoming. Jackson has merged the lawsuit brought by the Humane Society and other groups together with another lawsuit filed by the Defenders of Wildlife and others.

"We're very pleased that she kept both of these cases which involve the majority of litigants in Washington, D.C., because it's an issue of national importance," Henry said.

The federal government reintroduced wolves to Yellowstone in the mid-1990s. In recent years, Congress ended federal protection for them in Montana and Idaho while prohibiting legal challenges to state management in those states. The delisting of wolves in Wyoming, however, had no such prohibition against legal challenges.

In her ruling, Jackson stated delisting wolves in Wyoming has great national significance. She stated ending federal protection for wolves in Wyoming affects the wolf population across the entire northern Rocky Mountains. "Although the delisting rule is aimed at gray wolves located in Wyoming, wolves often cross state lines, sometimes traveling hundreds of miles," she wrote.

Renny MacKay, spokesman for Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, said Tuesday that the governor believes challenges to the state's wolf management plan should be heard in Wyoming.

"We believe this is a Wyoming issue, affecting the citizens of Wyoming and Wyoming's wolves," MacKay said. "We believe that matters of strong local interest, such as this, should be decided at home."

MacKay said the decision to hear the case in Washington won't affect the state's ability to defend Wyoming's wolf management practices. "Wolves in Wyoming are clearly recovered," he said. "Our management plan is based on the best available science, committing to the sustainability of the wolf population and genetic connectivity in the Northern Rockies. More importantly, our wolf management since delisting has proven the State's ability and commitment to responsibly manage wolves."

U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson of Cheyenne is presiding over a similar lawsuit in which eight environmental groups are challenging the Wyoming wolf delisting.

Johnson granted a request last week from the Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association to intervene in the lawsuit to make sure the interests of people who hunt wolves are represented. The same groups have asked to intervene in the lawsuit pending in Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(18) Comments

  1. reality22
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    reality22 - April 25, 2013 9:15 am
    Tip of the iceberg..... Here is the list of current wolf law suits.
    Colorado - suing for wolves in the Small Rocky Mountain National Park.

    New Mexico - suing because allowing chronic depredating wolves to do their thing is more important than protecting private property & running ranchers off their private land is high priority.
    Nevada /NM - suing because they want the cross breed (Coyote/Gray Wolf) to have more protection so they can abuse the Endangered Species Act to the hilt.
    Oregon - sue so they don't have to follow the Oregon Wolf Management Plan for removing chronic depredating wolves.

    Wisconsin - suing to severely limit any kind of control sportsman have and will need to effectively control these vermin.
    Wisconsin - (YES 2 law suits in Wisconsin) The one above isn't shutting down the hunt so they have filed an "intent to sue" coming at in from a different angle than the ridiculous "animal cruelty" angle....

    Wyoming - suing because they need to sulk for they didn't get there way AND because the state has the correct management strategy that the local people want all while hoping to get activist Judge molloy to hear their case.
    Wyoming - Yup.... two active law suits. Some say they are judge shopping no doubt! Hard to find someone like semi-retired Judge molloy!
    Wyoming - #3 no doubt they are shopping for a Judge to replace what molloy has given them over the years.

    Maine (New England) region - suing because the oversized coyotes they have aren't good enough to replace what sportsman are doing effectively.

    Minnesota - suing just for the fun of it - and because 3000 wolves isn't enough and killing 200 of the vermin yearly on the governments dime isn't enough!

    Idaho / Montana - suing because laws from congress aren't good enough and they think they have a ("separation of powers") leg to stand on.

    Alaska - suing because they want to know every wolf that is managed via "Aerial" management

    North Carolina - Apparently more wolves are more important than keeping the coyotes population under control.

    WI, MI, MN - Great Lakes region , that would be three for Wisconsin. The international environmental organization IUCN list this animal as a species of "least concern"..... and they file lawsuits for this animal as being "Endangered".

    Contact your reps and demand reform of the ESA & the EAJA dollars these environmental groups sue for.
  2. invisibleman4444
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    invisibleman4444 - April 24, 2013 7:12 pm
    The wolves are smoking many herds of elk and guess what, the wolves get to harvest elk, deer, and moose all year round and the wolves get to harvest as many elk calves as they want. You lost. ;)
  3. RobeOh
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    RobeOh - April 24, 2013 6:00 pm
    What makes me happier than all get out is to see dead wolf Pelts for sale here and there for the tourists to point and look at with a tear in their eye . I get alot Happier when i get the chance to explain for every pelt thats for sale, perhaps a hundred or more just seem to b tougher than the lead that goes thru them . After all when ya go out plinkin gophers n such varmints , ya don;t go lookin for soft hits or nearly misses ... Ya just say ...awwwww Shucks ! another pack smoked., another thousand elk saved, and another days good work to have a Beer and talk up who's worse at finding (not) something to tag.(lupis deadcanineous)
  4. TinaKB
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    TinaKB - April 24, 2013 11:50 am
    What do you say roger?
  5. TinaKB
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    TinaKB - April 24, 2013 11:49 am
    "Dick", You should volunteer to solve the "human overpopulation problem" If you need suggestions how, let me know and I will stop by your office.
  6. invisibleman4444
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    invisibleman4444 - April 24, 2013 9:46 am
    It's a human overpopulation problem. We don't want to destroy hunting. We support hunting meaning we support hunters like the wolves harvesting and managing the elk, deer, and moose all year round which is what they have been doing and will continue to do for many years to come in Montana. :)
  7. TinaKB
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    TinaKB - April 24, 2013 8:55 am
    Yes Howard, the BG Moderators allow Roger Hewitt to use insulting and offensive adjectives and NEVER moderate his posts. I guess if you are a wold lover, it's okay with the BG to not be civil and insult people.
  8. Howard Wilkinson
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    Howard Wilkinson - April 24, 2013 8:31 am
    Wolves, and humans in significant numbers do not coexist well. Human populations in the lower 48, and the agricultural activities necessary to support a population of 300+ million people are simply not compatible with large wolf populations. The 70% reduction in the Yellowstone Park Elk herd since the introduction of wolves in the park has driven wolves out in search of enough "game" to support their increasing numbers. As they spread into agricultural areas, cattle, sheep, horses, dogs, cats, and even people ..... basically any living thing that can be run down and killed, become prey. Roger Ranger chooses to use insulting and demeaning adjectives to describe honest hard working ranchers and others who live in the land of reality and recognize the need for control, rather than existing in his fantasy land. You need only paste in the link he provides to see what kind of wacko extremist groups he is a part of. These folks mean to destroy hunting and agriculture!!
  9. TinaKB
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    TinaKB - April 24, 2013 7:33 am
    Fund more lawsuits and to pay paid posters like Rump and not as Invisible as he thinks he is. Sadly, moderators from the BG protect them and allow them to call people rednecks and yokels, both uncivil and derogatory, but moderate anything that exposes the truth about them, even when it's civil. I suggest everyone call the editor and CEO to complain. Yes, this will get moderated too.
  10. TinaKB
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    TinaKB - April 24, 2013 7:28 am
    Sage Counseling and Evaluation Great Falls
  11. marion
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    marion - April 24, 2013 6:58 am
    Let's face it teh environmental lawsuits are a fund raiser of tax payer dollars. They care nothing for anything but the money and pwer over other people. Not one penny of what they are awarded will do anything for wolves, it will fund more lawsuits.
  12. invisibleman4444
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    invisibleman4444 - April 24, 2013 6:41 am
    You won't get your wish, but I will get mine and that is wolves will continue harvesting many elk, deer, and moose all year round and you can't do anything about it. Elk calves will also be heavily managed by the wolves, bears, and cougars, A lot of elk steaks for the wolves, bears, and cougars. You better believe it. :)
  13. klem
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    klem - April 24, 2013 6:00 am
    The more propaganda RoadRanger and invisible man puts out the more I want all wolves gone permanetly just to stop hearing their crap.
  14. bigskynative
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    bigskynative - April 24, 2013 2:57 am
    It is done with sound science. Thats why we have a fish and game service. These people are trained in these areas.

    I am prowildlife, but if prowildlife means we allow wolves to roam anywhere they want and destory wildlife and private property to the point where nothing but wolves remain I am antiwolf.

    We have already witnessed the carnage in yellowstone, the bitteroot, and the lolo region of Idaho.

    Wyoming simply does not want the same thing to happen to them.

    Not allowing a lawsuit in Wyoming is ridiculous and the federal government is overstepping its authority. No way around it.

    Woves are in no way endangeded in any sense. This is just another money maker for the prowolf nutcases who care little about peoples livihoods or other wildlife besides wolves.
  15. rogerranger
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    rogerranger - April 23, 2013 11:54 pm
    Large parts of our society, an element of western heritage, elevate themselves to ”stewards of the land” and all other species to something lower and them as above and superior to other sentient beings like the wolf, so they thereby reduce other sentient beings to objects for protection, use, or killing.

    Many of the same mentality manifest an unawareness or lack of concern. So many people are concerned only with their narrow spheres of living that they are oblivious to larger concerns that ultimately affect them and their offspring, such as the environment and biodiversity and a wilderness that is good for us all. They don’t see that we are all in this together, including our wild brethren.

    Many humans see themselves as the only sentient beings, something God created in his image, and the rest as the Garden of Eden, to take from and use as stewards of the land. But they are failing as stewards of the land, with only vestiges of what once was. While collecting their coupons to Heaven, they are unconcerned, because this is all ends anyway, and they await Nirvana, not realizing that it was here, and they were in it, and that is really all they ever had to take care of and they failed.

    We play stewards of the land through our wildlife agencies who reflect us. So, we play God over the landscape using it all as our needs and rationalizations dictate to suit our needs. It is about all gone.
  16. rogerranger
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    rogerranger - April 23, 2013 11:37 pm
    Anthropocene Era:
    Regarding wolves: The wildlife agencies, state and federal, are out of control. This should not be a surprise when you consider their history. They were never, from their inception, friendly to predators. This country has hated predators from the beginning as has mankind around the world, and is set on an extermination policy and/or practices, from the early settlements onward, wiping out flora and fauna, as this country was settled and ones before. Settled, that means the Anthropocene takeover of the world, loss of biodiversity and loss of wildlife and habitat and pollution on a grand scale. We look to the wildlife agencies for what they are not, never were. They have always primarily worked for the rancher, the farmer, the sportsmen, and mans' pecuniary interests, not wildlife, unless the two meshed, providing license fees, sport, political favor. Now we are back to an 1880's approach to predators slightly improved with allowance for marginalization and ungulate farming for the sportsmen and license fees. It is and always has been political management. Actually, our yokel forebears almost wiped out everything, a lot with government approval and support. True wilderness has been reduced to the last 2%-5%; that, to put it in perspective, is what we are fighting so hotly about. To MT-WY-ID-WI-AK-WA yokels, when they look out, it seems a lot, not! Our ancestors marched across this country committing genocide against Native Americans and wildlife, flora and fauna, especially the predators, and still cannot grasp ecology, not even the wildlife agencies.
  17. rogerranger
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    rogerranger - April 23, 2013 11:36 pm
    Re-list Wolf:
    Regarding the on-going wolf slaughter: Jihad of western and Midwestern states of the wolf. I don't know what to say, but it is a vendetta, not management, a jihad by yokel-redneck-hunter-trapper-rancher-like minded wildlife agencies and legislatures, but we have to move to get wolves out of state control. Wildlife management should mostly be federal jurisdiction because wildlife is regional or national in that wildlife does not see state boundaries, intermingle across state boundaries, and are mostly, regarding predators, on national public land (national forests or national parks). Wildlife is a treasure to the country not a renewable resource or annihilation target of state or localities within state. Another point is that the western states of MT, ID, and WY are simply to redneck-yokel-rancher-sportsmen (hunter) to manage the wolf. The same types set out to eliminate the wolf and other predators 130 years ago along with the USA government. The wolf has basically, with political delisting, been turned over to traditional enemies. It is not science, not logic, not ecology; it is just traditional, ignorant hate elements making the decisions. The answer is to re-list, indefinitely, and probably forever, and get away from this right minded (republican) idea of state prominence in this regard. It is not limited to wolves but also grizzlies, which the state of MT seems anxious to “manage” kill once delisted, and I think they are next going after lions. Once the wildlife agencies “study” predators, it is likely to “manage” (kill) and marginalize them.

  18. mtpockets
    Report Abuse
    mtpockets - April 23, 2013 9:11 pm
    Too many emotions on both sides of the issue. We should manage all wild animals with sound proven science.

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