Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd slam feds
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
June 8, 2007
Montana-based Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd (“Friends”) has retained Cheyenne’s Budd-Falen law firm to begin preparation of a wolf lawsuit.
Back in the fall of 2001, Friends filed a petition to delist Northern Rocky Mountain wolves from the list of federally protected species, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service summarily rejected. The State of Wyoming filed a similar petition four years later, to which FWS noted had some merit, but eventually rejected the state’s wolf management plan. Now that dispute is pending in federal court while FWS has also proposed to move forward with delisting.
What exactly causes of action would be involved in the Friends have yet to be determined, but interest in the lawsuit has been high in the Montana Legislature.
Not content to work the issue from a single angle, Friends also submitted comments to FWS on the delisting proposal.
The letter begins: “We hereby demand the immediate removal from any protections’ afforded wolves by the federal government, understanding that such protections are really not ‘protections’ at all, but are, rather a full scale frontal attack on civil rights, property rights and resource providers in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.”
No one involved in the wolf issue in Montana escaped unscathed in the letter. Friends suggested since Defenders of Wildlife initiated a compensation fund to help fund losses to wolves, this national environmental group should be held “financially responsible for the decimation of the Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming game herds.” The Turner Endangered Species Fund should meet a similar fate, according to Friends.
“The fact that de-listing has not occurred and these extreme high wolf densities, is proof of bad faith dealings and corruption by those entrusted with wolf recovery,” according to Friends.
The elk-advocacy group asserted that all non-governmental organizations who have used the court systems to delay wolf de-listing” should be identified for the harm they’ve caused to the citizens and counties of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming and the amount of damage they’ve caused should be quantified “so that pro-rata damages can be awarded.”