COLORADO COURT: MOUSE IS A LISTED SPECIES IN WYOMING
July 7, 2011 - For Immediate Release
DENVER, CO. Over objections by two Wyoming groups, a Colorado federal district court today vacated an earlier decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) delisting the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse (PMJM) in Wyoming and remanded additional Endangered Species Act (ESA) proceedings regarding the PMJM to the agency. The Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, which had intervened successfully in a lawsuit by environmental groups, had argued that, after a species is removed from the ESA list by the FWS, the agency may only return it to the list in the same manner or as a result of an order that the delisting was illegal. In response to various environmental groups’ charge that a 2008 decision by the FWS to delist the PMJM in Wyoming is illegal and must be set aside, the FWS asked that the district court allow it to withdraw the decision. The Wyoming associations are represented by Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), which challenged the PMJM listing in 1998 with a federal lawsuit filed in December 2003.
“We are disappointed with this ruling,” said William Perry Pendley, Esq., MSLF president. “We believe the cost to Wyoming is relevant despite the court’s use of the ‘whatever the cost’ Supreme Court language.”
In 1998, the FWS listed the PMJM as “threatened” under the ESA in Colorado and Wyoming; in 2003, the agency initiated efforts to designate “critical habitat,” which it revised in December 2010.
In July 1999, the FWS received petitions to remove the PMJM from the ESA list, but, in December 2003, refused to take action. In December 2003, the State of Wyoming and a Colorado association filed separate petitions to delist the PMJM; in February 2005, the FWS concluded that delisting was warranted and initiated a rule-making to do so. In February 2006, the FWS extended the time to take final agency action on the proposed delisting that drew a lawsuit from the State of Wyoming, which was settled.
Meanwhile, in March 2007, the Solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior issued an opinion concluding that the ESA permitted a species to be delisted in a part of its range while it retained its ESA protection elsewhere. In November 2007, the FWS proposed to determine that the PMJM was no longer threatened in Wyoming and could be delisted there. In July 2008, the FWS withdrew ESA protection for the PMJM in Wyoming.
In June 2009, several environmental groups filed a lawsuit in Colorado federal district court to challenge the July 2008 rule. In August 2009, the district court granted the right of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation and the Wyoming Stock Growers Association to intervene to defend the decision.
Mountain States Legal Foundation, created in 1977, is a nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system. Its offices are in suburban Denver, Colorado.
Center for Native Ecosystems v. Salazar, No. 09-cv-1463 (D.Colo.)
Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) is a nonprofit,
public interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right
to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and economic freedom. It is an Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) entity
incorporated in the State of Colorado. Csontributions
to Mountain States Legal Foundation are tax deductible.
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