Gray Wolves In Wyoming May Lose Federal Protections
By BEN NEARY 08/ 3/11 09:40 PM ET
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming ranchers and hunters fed up with wolves attacking livestock and other wildlife would be able to shoot the predators on sight in most of the state under a tentative agreement state and federal officials announced Wednesday.
Gov. Matt Mead and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said they’ve come to terms over how to end federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming – the last state in the Northern Rockies where the animals remain under federal management.
Hours later, a judge rejected a legal challenge to a federal budget bill rider that removed protections for the gray wolf in the other Northern Rockies states.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy of Missoula, Mont., said precedent by a federal appeals court required him to uphold the provision passed earlier this year that stripped wolves of their endangered status in Montana and Idaho, and in parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah.
It was not immediately clear Wednesday whether conservation groups planned to appeal.
While some neighboring states plan to let licensed hunters kill wolves at certain times of the year, Wyoming would be the only one to allow people to shoot wolves in most of the state year-round without a license.
Environmentalists swiftly blasted the agreement, saying it offers wolves too little protection and would fail judicial review unless Congress approves pending language to insulate it from legal challenges.
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