Groups ask court to reinstate grizzly protections
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
January 10, 2018
Tribal and environmental groups have asked a federal judge to invalidate a government decision to strip the Yellowstone region’s grizzly bears of endangered species protections and to return the Yellowstone grizzly bear population to federal protection.
The coalition cited the recent reopening of public comment on the Yellowstone grizzly delisting rule as evidence the government did not complete its homework before removing protections for this population of bears. In particular, the government failed to consider the impacts of its delisting decision on the opportunity for a broader recovery of grizzly bears in the lower-48 states.
"The time for taking public comment and considering all issues surrounding the removal of federal protections for Yellowstone grizzlies was before those protections were removed – not after the decision was finalized," said Earthjustice attorney Timothy Preso, who is representing the coalition.
The summary judgment request was filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and National Parks Conservation Association.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized the Yellowstone grizzly bear delisting rule in June 2017, and the tribal/environmental coalition filed a lawsuit soon afterwards. In December, the Service began soliciting public comment on the impact of a recent court ruling that overturned a similar government effort to withdraw federal protections from the Western Great Lakes wolf population without addressing broader recovery of the species.