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Fri February 4, 2005
State Defends Wolf Management Plan
Cheyenne, Wy – The state of Wyoming argued for its plan to list wolves as predators through much of the state in a Cheyenne federal court Friday. The state sued the federal government over the rejection of the Wyoming plan to manage wolves after their removal from the Endangered Species list.
The state claims that when the Fish and Wildlife Service rejected the Wyoming plan, it was a decision based on a fear of lawsuits from environmental groups and political considerations...essentially that the word predator created discomfort. The state says that violates the Endangered Species Act because it was not a decision based on the best available science and the state pointed to peer reviews, where 10 of 11 scientists agreed the Wyoming wolf plan was workable. Federal attorneys argued that Wyoming has no grounds to file the lawsuit, at this point. They say the rejection of Wyoming's plan was a step in the larger process of de-listing the wolf, and not a final action, which is the legal standard for such cases. If Wyoming had formally asked for de-listing and had that rejected, then a lawsuit would be allowed. The federal attorneys also said the rejection was scientifically-based. They say it was a decision that looked at the peer reviews and a Fish and Wildlife review, using the agency's on-the-ground expertise.