Mountain States Legal Foundation Logo

News Releases


Wyoming Ranchers Ask Court To Uphold Original Purpose Of Endangered Species Act

Jul 25, 2018 | by William Perry Pendley

Mountain States Legal Foundation, representing ranchers, tells court to allow the federal government to return management of the recovered grizzly bear population to the States.

DENVER, CO.  A group of Wyoming ranchers who, for years, have been forced to deal with the ever-increasing Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear population today asked a federal district court in Montana to stop radical environmental groups and Indian tribes from forcing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to retain management control over the grizzly bear.  The environmental groups and tribes, relying on faulty science and fabricated procedural claims, demand the court set aside the agency’s final rule removing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear from the Endangered Species Act list. 

Mountain States Legal Foundation, on behalf of Wyoming ranchers, urged the district court to uphold the original purpose of the Endangered Species Act and return management of a recovered species to the States where the animal lives and has a direct impact on the citizenry.  The Act was never meant to allow for permanent federal management but was intended as a way for the federal government to help states seek the recovery of threatened and endangered species.  Once a successful recovery occurs, management control is supposed to return to the States.

“What the environmental groups and tribes really want is for the federal government to take management responsibility over every species possible, and to never release that control,” said Cody J. Wisniewski of Mountain States Legal Foundation, lead counsel on the case.  “This is part of a broader effort to lock-up land and increase the federal government’s interference in the affairs of the States.”

“When Congress adopted the Endangered Species Act it could not have envisioned and never intended the degree of the control the Fish and Wildlife Service now exercises over the lives of ordinary Americans in the name of protecting species,” said William Perry Pendley, president of Mountain States Legal Foundation.  “We seek to restore what Congress passed.”

Mountain States Legal Foundation, on behalf of Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Charles C. Price, and W&M Thoman Ranches, LLC, sought to enter the case on February 28, 2018.  In its March 14, 2018 Order, the court agreed, stating the ranchers and farmers “defend the interest of a small section of the regulated public […] and those arguments will not be represented by other parties in this case.” 

On July 25, 2018, Mountain States Legal Foundation filed a Motion for Summary Judgment against the plaintiffs, asking the district court to rule against the environmental groups and tribes’ in their effort to set aside the Fish and Wildlife Service’s final rule delisting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear.  The district court set oral argument on this matter for August 30, 2018, at 9:00 a.m., in the Russell Smith Courthouse, in Missoula, Montana.

Mountain States Legal Foundation, founded 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 located in suburban Denver, Colorado.

For more information: 

Crow Indian Tribe v. United States of America



Help protect constitutional liberties and private property rights, and promote limited and ethical government and the free enterprise system:

Donate Here