Shame!! Joe Biden administration defends Trump decision to delist gray wolves

Lee Heidhues 11.13.20921

I thought the Biden Administration has a goal to protect endangered gray wolves.

It is thoroughly disheartening to read that the Biden administration is in Federal Court defending Trump’s decision to end endangered species protection for these animals which have roamed North America for centuries.

This is today’s example of the foxes running the chicken house. Translation. The all talk and no action Biden administration is advocating the slaughter of a protected species.

Shame. Shame. Shame.

Excerpted from Courthouse News Service 11.12.2021

Conservationists urged a federal judge Friday in Oakland, CA to overturn a Trump administration rule that ended endangered species protections for gray wolves, arguing the decision was based on a flawed legal interpretation and junk science.

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“A decision that an already listed species is no longer listable must be based on a valid reason, and Fish and Wildlife doesn’t have a valid reason here,” Earthjustice lawyer Kristen Boyles said during a virtual court hearing Friday.

The dispute stems from the Trump administration’s decision in October last year to end Endangered Species Act protections for most gray wolves in the lower 48 states, an outcome critics say was based on flawed analyses and a failure to consider the best available evidence.

More than 6,000 gray wolves roam prairies and mountainous regions in the United States today, a population that wildlife officials said last year “exceeded all conservation goals for recovery.” But groups like Defenders of Wildlife, which filed one of three federal lawsuits challenging the decision, say gray wolves still face serious threats to their survival, especially as states like Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan authorize new trophy hunting seasons.

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During a Wisconsin wolf-hunting season this past February, at least 218 gray wolves were killed in a 48-hour time span, about 100 more than the legal limit. The number of wolves in Wisconsin declined about 30% in April 2021 from one year earlier, according to a peer-reviewed study cited in court briefs.

Despite fierce opposition by conservations groups, President Joe Biden’s administration has defended the decision to delist gray wolves, a move that had reportedly been planned for years before it was finalized under President Donald Trump.

Representing conservation groups, Boyles said that reasoning contradicts the text of the final rule published on Nov. 3, 2020, which states the delisting decision was based on analyses of threats to the population, not a finding that gray wolves are no longer eligible for protection.

“Fish and Wildlife cannot simply designate and then delist a distinct population segment,” Boyles said. “To delist based on a finding that a distinct population no longer qualifies as a species.”

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Boyle said the agency has a long history of misapplying the law, citing its prior attempts to end protections for certain gray wolf population segments in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011, all of which were rejected by federal courts.

Boyle urged U.S. District Judge Jeffery White, a George W. Bush appointee overseeing the case, to abolish the delisting rule and order the agency to reevaluate its decision based on the best available evidence and science.

After an hour of debate, Judge White took the arguments under submission.

Groups suing to restore Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves include Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, Oregon Wild, Humane Society of the United States, WildEarth Guardians, Western Watersheds Project, Cascadia Wildlands, Environmental Protections Information Center, Klamath Forest Alliance, Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center, The Lands Council, Wildlands Network, Kettle Range Conservation Group, Natural Resources Defense Council, and other groups that intervened in the lawsuits to support the plaintiffs’ position.

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Defendants who intervened in the case to oppose gray wolf protections include the National Rifle Association, Safari Club International, Michigan Bear Hunters Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Sportsmens Alliance Foundation, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and the state of Utah.

Judge asked to restore endangered species protections for gray wolves