Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined the fight against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) delisting of gray wolves from the endangered species list.
Nessel’s office announced Monday that she and Democratic Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum submitted an amicus brief Friday in the federal Defenders of Wildlife et al v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service et al lawsuit. The case is being heard in the Oakland Division of Northern California’s U.S District Court.
Under the Trump administration, the FWS finalized its removal of the gray wolf from the nationwide endangered species list in 2020, largely based on recovery efforts of the species in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Nessel objected to the proposal in 2019, arguing that delisting it nationwide would hurt wolf populations that are still struggling in other states.
“By delisting the gray wolf nationwide, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service abandoned its obligation to protect endangered gray wolves wherever they are found. Turning cooperative federalism on its head, the Service weaponized our effective wolf recovery in the Great Lakes region against wolf populations struggling to recover in other states,” Nessel said.
“The facts are clear here: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can only use Michigan’s successes in Michigan, not nationwide. Where wolves remain endangered, they must remain listed.”
Nessel and Rosenblum argue that the FWS was acting unlawfully and violated the Endangered Species Act when it failed to analyze the conditions of wolf populations in more than a dozen other states, which include Washington, Oregon, California, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Kansas.
The case was originally filed on Jan. 14. Plaintiffs include Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, the National Parks Conservation Association, Oregon Wild and the Humane Society of the United States.
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