Wyoming prepared to sue to compel wolf action
July 24, 2006
Gov. Dave Freudenthal is warning the federal government that the state will sue to compel action "now overdue" on two wolf management petitions filed by Wyoming last year.
The state sent a letter to H. Dale Hall and Mitch King of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and to Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne, advising of their official "60 Day Notice of Intent to Sue for Violations of the Endangered Species Act-Gray Wolf". The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has not responded to the state’s wolf petition within the required one-year timeframe.
In early July 2005, the state filed a petition asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to amend the existing gray wolf management regulations to mitigate the negative impacts on livestock and wildlife being caused by the rapidly growing recovered gray wolf population in Wyoming.
As of this week, the service has taken no formal action on the state's petition to amend the management regulations.
Later that month, the state also filed a petition asking the Secretary of the Interior to establish a Northern Rocky Mountain distinct population segment for the gray wolf and to delist that population segment. The Fish and Wildlife Service has acknowledged receipt of both filings, but has failed to respond, despite a statutory requirement that a decision be made within one year of receiving a petition.
"It is unfortunate that we have reached this point when the federal government again fails to respond to Wyoming's wolf plan," Freudenthal said. "I am hopeful that during this 60-day notice period we can see some progress with the Department of Interior. If not, it is our intent to sue in order to protect the integrity of the statutes passed by the Wyoming Legislature."