Federal rule 'delisting' gray wolves is issued
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a formal rule Wednesday to remove gray wolves from the federal endangered list in Montana and Idaho while keeping protections in Wyoming.
That state and environmentalists promised to challenge immediately when the formal delisting rule is published Thursday in the Federal Register. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had said last month that he would uphold the agency's decision to continue managing wolves in Wyoming.
State Attorney General Bruce Salzburg said Wyoming will sue over being denied management of wolves. The state has proposed classifying wolves as predators that could be shot on sight in most of the state or that they be managed as trophy game in some parts.
The Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups said they would sue over their contention that federal protections are inadequate.
Doug Honnold, a lawyer with Earthjustice in Montana — the law firm representing conservation groups — said they were "going to fight until we can get to legitimate recovery. We think that the population is close to appropriate recovery levels, but it's not there yet."