According to a Center for Biological Diversity press release, dated on June 1, 2016, five conservation groups filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging U.S. Department of Agriculcure’s Wildlife Service’s killing of gray wolves in Idaho.
The five conservation groups named as Plaintiff’s in the lawsuit are: Western Watersheds Project, the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Clearwater, WildEarth Guardians and Predator Defense.
Defendants named in the lawsuit are: Todd Grimm, Idaho Director, Wildlife Services; and USDA Wildlife Services
In the lawsuit the Plaintiff’s action states: “On February 10, 2016, Defendant USDA Wildlife Services aerially gunned down 21 gray wolves in central Idaho’s Lolo elk zone. These deaths added to at least 636 wolves killed by Wildlife Services in Idaho between 2006 and 2015. In addition to aerial gunning, Wildlife Services captures wolves in foothold traps, often later killing them; shoots them; and uses wire snares to strangle them. The effects of killing Idaho’s native apex predators cascade through the environment, particularly in the Lolo zone, where Wildlife Services has now slaughtered wolves several years in a row.”
According to Center for Biological Diversity’s press release: The agency also kills wolves for the purported benefit of elk herds, including in the Lolo zone.
“The campaign waged against the Lolo’s native wolves in the name of elk is reprehensible. Science shows that the elk decline there is due to long-term, natural-habitat changes, not impacts from wolves,” said Gary Macfarlane of Friends of the Clearwater. “It is particularly galling that Wildlife Services is targeting wolves that mostly live in Wildernesses or large roadless areas. These, especially, are places where wolves should be left alone.” Center for Biological Diversity press release
According to the lawsuit, Defendants violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321-4370, and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706, by failing to conduct a full EIS and instead issuing the flawed 2011 Wolf EA and Decision/FONSI, and by refusing to complete supplemental NEPA analysis to consider significant new information.
According to the lawsuit the Plaintiffs seek relief reversing and remanding Wildlife Services’ 2011 Wolf EA and Decision/FONSI, ordering Wildlife Services to supplement its NEPA analysis, and ordering Wildlife Services to comply with its NEPA duties by preparing an EIS for its Idaho wolf management activities. Plaintiffs also seek relief ordering Wildlife Services to halt its wolf killing activities until it has prepared an updated, valid NEPA analysis.
For more information:
Contact: Travis Bruner, Western Watersheds Project, (208) 788-2290
Andrea Santarsiere, Center for Biological Diversity, (303) 854-7748, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Macfarlane, Friends of the Clearwater, (208) 882-9755
Bethany Cotton, WildEarth Guardian,s (406) 414-7227
Brooks Fahy, Predator Defense, (541) 937-4261
Talasi Brooks, Advocates for the West, (208) 342-7024