8 Jun 2010, 11:24pm
Latest Wildlife News
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Governor assails species litigation

by CHAD BALDWIN, Casper Star-Tribune, June 4, 2010 [here]

CASPER — Gov. Dave Freudenthal on Friday called for changes in both the federal Endangered Species Act and in the law that allows environmental groups to search for friendly venues to file lawsuits under the act.

Speaking at the summer convention of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association in Casper, the Democrat said litigation in recent years concerning wolves and sage grouse should have been handled in federal court in Wyoming, not in Montana and Idaho.

“I lost my shirt” in rulings in those cases, Freudenthal lamented, because environmental groups’ lawsuits were handled by judges “who rule how environmental groups want them to.”

The governor was referring to U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Montana and U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill in Idaho.

Having ruled in 2008 against Wyoming’s plan for managing wolves, Molloy is considering a lawsuit filed by 13 conservation and wildlife groups over whether wolves can be removed from federal protection in Montana and Idaho yet remain protected in Wyoming. Molloy also ordered last year that grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone area be returned to federal protection.

Winmill found in 2007 that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2005 decision against protecting the sage grouse was inappropriately influenced by politics and not based on science, and he ordered another 12-month review of whether an Endangered Species Act listing was warranted. The agency this year found that sage grouse protection is warranted but precluded by other priorities. …

The governor said the prospect of an endangered listing for the sage grouse “hangs like the sword of Damocles” over Wyoming’s economy. … [more]

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