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Complaint in Lawsuit to Put Wolves Back on the Endangered Species List

Complaint in Lawsuit to Put Wolves Back on the Endangered Species List

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Published by FindLaw
Plaintiffs' complaint seeking to re-list the Gray Wolf on the endangered species list. The judge has delayed ruling on the matter for a few days, allowing a hunt of the wolf population in Idaho to move forward.
Plaintiffs' complaint seeking to re-list the Gray Wolf on the endangered species list. The judge has delayed ruling on the matter for a few days, allowing a hunt of the wolf population in Idaho to move forward.

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Published by: FindLaw on Sep 02, 2009
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Douglas L. HonnoldTimothy J. PresoJenny K. HarbineEarthjustice209 South Willson AvenueBozeman, MT 59715(406) 586-9699Fax: (406) 586-9695dhonnold@earthjustice.orgtpreso@earthjustice.org jharbine@earthjustice.org
 Attorneys for Plaintiffs
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANAMISSOULA DIVISIONDEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE,NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSECOUNCIL, SIERRA CLUB,HUMANE SOCIETY OF THEUNITED STATES, CENTER FORBIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY,JACKSON HOLE CONSERVATIONALLIANCE, FRIENDS OF THECLEARWATER, ALLIANCE FORTHE WILD ROCKIES, OREGONWILD, CASCADIA WILDLANDS,WESTERN WATERSHEDSPROJECT, WILDLANDS NETWORK,and HELLS CANYONPRESERVATION COUNCILPlaintiffs,vs.KEN SALAZAR, Secretary of theInterior; ROWAN GOULD, ActingU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director;and UNITED STATES FISH ANDWILDLIFE SERVICE,)Defendants.)))))))))))))))))))))))))))CASE NO. CV-09-77-M-DWM
COMPLAINT FORDECLARATORYAND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
 
Case 9:09-cv-00077-DWM Document 1 Filed 06/02/2009 Page 1 of 42
 
INTRODUCTION
1.
 
This case challenges the decision of the U.S. Fish and WildlifeService (“FWS”) to designate the northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf a “distinctpopulation segment” and then delist it, despite significant threats to wolves’survival and a lack of regulatory mechanisms to ensure that the wolf populationdoes not plummet well below sustainable levels. See Final Rule To Identify theNorthern Rocky Mountain Population of Gray Wolf as a Distinct PopulationSegment and To Revise the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, 74 Fed.Reg. 15,123 (Apr. 2, 2009) (“Delisting Rule”).2.
 
Four separate federal district courts have invalidated FWS’s priorattempts to reduce or remove protections for gray wolves in the United Statesunder the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), 16 U.S.C. § 1531, et seq. Mostrecently, this Court enjoined FWS’s 2008 attempt to eliminate protections for graywolves in the northern Rockies. See Defenders of Wildlife v. Hall, 565 F. Supp.2d 1160 (D. Mont., July 18, 2008). Notwithstanding FWS’s consistent inability toachieve legitimate wolf recovery, FWS’s drive to remove gray wolves from thefederal list of Endangered Species remains unrelenting.3.
 
A mere two weeks after this Court remanded FWS’s 2008 northernRockies delisting decision at the agency’s request, FWS reopened the publiccomment period on the same delisting proposal that resulted in FWS’s unlawful1
Case 9:09-cv-00077-DWM Document 1 Filed 06/02/2009 Page 2 of 42
 
2008 delisting decision. The resulting 2009 wolf delisting rule, like itspredecessor, is fraught with legal infirmities. While repeating many of the errorsof the 2008 rule, the 2009 Delisting Rule creates entirely new violations. Amongother things, the 2009 Delisting Rule unlawfully delisted a portion of the northernRockies wolf population while retaining endangered status for wolves inWyoming, failed to ensure that the northern Rockies wolf population exhibitsgenetic connectivity essential to its survival, and will allow the wolf population inIdaho and Montana to decline dramatically on the basis of outdated and inadequatewolf population recovery targets. As a result, the delisted northern Rockies wolf population will never achieve true recovery as envisioned by Congress when itenacted the ESA.4.
 
In light of these deficiencies, this Court should set aside the DelistingRule and order that wolves in the northern Rockies be returned to the federal list of threatened and endangered species until their long-term viability is assured.
JURISDICTION, VENUE, AND ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES
 5.
 
Plaintiffs bring this action pursuant to the ESA citizen-suit provision,16 U.S.C. § 1540(g), which waives defendants’ sovereign immunity, and theAdministrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. § 551 et seq. This Court has jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question)and may issue a declaratory judgment and further relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§2
Case 9:09-cv-00077-DWM Document 1 Filed 06/02/2009 Page 3 of 42

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