Waiting on wolf delisting
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
March 7, 2017
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has issued the following press release about wolf delisting:
"On March 3, 2017 a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recognized Wyoming’s wolf management plan should be upheld. This comes after, the US Fish and Wildlife Service removed Wyoming’s wolves from the protection of the Endangered Species Act through a delisting rule in 2012. In 2014, a federal District Court judge reinstated federal protections for wolves and vacated the 2012 rule because the judge believed that population commitments Wyoming made in its wolf management plan needed to be in regulation or statute. As a result, the judge ruled that the US Fish and Wildlife Service acted arbitrarily in delisting Wyoming’s wolves. Wyoming and the federal government appealed that decision.
"In the 3-0 opinion that came out on March 3rd, the Court concluded that US Fish and Wildlife Service did not act arbitrarily when it determined Wyoming’s Wolf Management Plan was sufficient to maintain a recovered wolf population upon delisting.
"Game and Fish is pleased with that ruling. "Wyoming showed it could manage wolves in a conservative and responsible manner that met all objectives after delisting. We look forward to again taking on the important work of managing this public resource," said Chief of the Wildlife Division, Brian Nesvik.
"Wyoming will not take over management immediately because of the legal process involved.
"So, until that process plays out Game and Fish reminds people that wolves are still considered protected under the Endangered Species Act and under federal management. This also means the take of wolves in Wyoming remains suspended."
In addition to issuing a 30-page opinion on the case, which reversed the lower court order and "affirmed" the FWS rule delisting wolves, in a separate court order, the court wrote: "It is ORDERED, on the court's own motion, that the Clerk withhold issuance of the mandate herein until seven days after disposition of any timely petition for rehearing or petition for rehearing en banc. See Fed. R. App. P. 41(b); D.C. Cir. Rule 41. This instruction to the Clerk is without prejudice to the right of any party to move for expedited issuance of the mandate for good cause shown."
The petition for rehearing must be filed within 45 days, and the court could decide whether to grant the rehearing or deny the request. According to the court rules, "the petition must state with particularity each point of law or fact that the petitioner believes the court has overlooked or misapprehended and must argue in support of the petition."
Assuming that no petition for rehearing is filed with the court, the earliest wolf delisting could take effect would be April 17th.