Enviros slam gray wolf delisting as unconstitutional

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Enviros slam gray wolf delisting as unconstitutional

Post by Blightwolf » Sat May 07, 2011 12:00 am

Enviros slam gray wolf delisting as unconstitutional
May 6, 2011

Law360, New York (May 6, 2011) -- Environmental groups filed suits Thursday in Montana alleging that a congressional rider requiring removal of Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains violated the constitutional separation of powers.

The rider, attached to a federal budget bill last month by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, is unconstitutional because it influences pending litigation without changing underlying law, and because it provides that wolf delisting shall not be subject to judicial review, according to one suit from the Center for Biological Diversity and another from Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater and WildEarth Guardians.

The groups added that this marks the first time an animal or plant has been removed from the endangered species list by Congress.

“It sets a terrible precedent to have this rider whereby any time a politician doesn't like an endangered species they can ask Congress to remove it,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It was an unnecessary, terrible thing for Congress to do. We really think they overstepped their bounds.”

The suits will be heard by U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, who restored ESA protections for northern Rocky Mountain wolves in August after they were delisted the first time around.

Named as defendants were the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and acting Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service Rowan Gould. They issued a final rule on Thursday implementing the rider.

Chris Tollefson, a spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service, said the agency simply did what it was directed to do by Congress.

“We'll take a look at the lawsuit,” Tollefson said. “But in general, we were doing what Congress asked us to do.”

Gray wolves once roamed across most of the continental United States, but by the 1930s they only remained in a few places, such as northern Minnesota. The population began inching upward after the wolf was listed as endangered in 1974, but wolves still only occupy about 5 percent of their historic range in this country, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Wolves in Idaho and Montana and parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah were delisted in 2009, which led to a year of hunting in Idaho and Montana.

But Judge Molloy restored protections for those wolves the following year, ruling that the ESA did not allow distinct population segments to be subdivided.

As a result, the government wrongly took away ESA protections for wolves in those five states while keeping them in Wyoming, the other state where northern Rocky Mountain gray wolves are found, according to the judge.

In April, 10 of the 14 environmental groups involved in the original litigation agreed to a settlement that would have lifted ESA protection for the wolves in Idaho and Montana, while preserving the wolves' endangered status in Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and Utah.

That settlement was rejected by Judge Molloy. A few days later, Tester and Simpson's rider passed, directing the Secretary of the Interior to reissue the final rule that delisted the northern Rocky Mountain gray wolves in 2009.

“The job of wolf recovery in the northern Rocky Mountains is not complete,” Greenwald said. “With poaching, planned hunts and aerial gunning by state agencies, wolves continue to be at risk.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is represented in this matter by Christopher Karr of the Karr Law Firm PLLC.

Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater and WildEarth Guardians are represented by Rebecca K. Smith of the Public Interest Defense Center and James Jay Tutchton of Tutchton Law Office LLC.

Counsel information for the defendants was not immediately available.

The cases are Center for Biological Diversity v. Salazar et al., case number 9:11-cv-00071, and Alliance for the Wild Rockies et al. v. Salazar et al., case number 9:11-cv-00070, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana.

Source: http://www.law360.com/topnews/articles/ ... titutional
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Re: Enviros slam gray wolf delisting as unconstitutional

Post by Canidae » Mon May 09, 2011 10:11 pm

I knew somebody would challenge this. And I'm glad they did. While I will agree with wolves in the Northern Rockies being delisted, I was furious when I heard that the animal would be taken off of the list by this random legal rider that was tacked onto a budget bill.


PLEASE, manage wolves according to science, not politics! :(
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Re: Enviros slam gray wolf delisting as unconstitutional

Post by Blightwolf » Tue May 10, 2011 2:29 am

Canidae wrote:PLEASE, manage wolves according to science, not politics! :(
Hear, hear. :|

I think wolf management in some parts of the US is very flimsy. Gray wolves are jumping back and forth between the Endangered Species list. -.-
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