Ninth Circuit Upholds Wolf Delisting

Posted on March 16, 2012

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This week, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Congress acted within its power when it removed wolves from the federal Endangered Species List last year.

According to a Missoulian.com article, the court case pitted several "environmental rights" organizations against the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The environmental groups claimed wolves lost their federal Endangered Species Act protection in Montana and Idaho before their populations had recovered.

Last year, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), sponsored a successful amendment giving Montana and Idaho wildlife agencies control of wolf populations in their states and blocking further judicial review.

In this week's ruling, the three-judge panel found that Congress changed the law governing wolf management, but did not order courts to make any specific findings, which "does not violate the constitutional separation of powers" between the legislative and judicial branches of government. They also found the Tester-Simpson amendment didn't repeal any part of the Endangered Species Act, or prevent anyone from challenging wolf management under the existing Fish and Wildlife Service and state policies.

NRA, Safari Club International, and other pro-wildlife groups intervened in the case to support the Congressional action.

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