Update: Molloy: Why protect wolves in Wyoming, but not Montana and Idaho?

From The Missoulian:

Molloy: Why protect wolves in Wyoming, but not Montana and Idaho?

By ROB CHANEY of the Missoulian | Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:15 pm |

The fate of northern Rocky Mountain wolves returned to the courtroom on Tuesday, with both sides arguing about the proper way to tell when an endangered species has recovered.

“These are not normative questions about the goodness or badness of the decision-making,” U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy told the packed courtroom. Instead, he asked the attorneys to answer five questions about how the federal Endangered Species Act is affecting the gray wolf.

In particular, he wanted to know why Wyoming could be kept under federal control while Montana and Idaho were allowed state management of wolves. Molloy interrupted both sides frequently to ask about “subdividing” the distinct population segment boundary that marked wolf recovery habitat in the three states.

Earthjustice attorney Doug Honnold spent much of his time arguing there was no good reason to cut Wyoming out of the herd.

“If you have a three-state recovery effort and one refuses to play ball, the only answer is to perpetually keep them listed or go back to the drawing board,” Honnold said. “All three states have been reluctant to take on their share of wolf recovery. We hope the (U.S.) Fish and Wildlife Service will go back to the drawing board and come up with something that would actually work.”

Montana attorney general’s representative Bob Lane flipped that argument on its head, saying the Endangered Species Act needs flexibility in order to work.

“Otherwise Wyoming in effect can maintain a kind of Senate filibuster if they maintain their position,” Lane said. “The wolf status would never change. Do you then draw another line with only Montana and Idaho? What purpose is that?”

The hearing was briefly interrupted just before 10 a.m. when a Stanford Legal Clinic student, Molly Knobler, collapsed at the lecturn while making part of the case for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. A bailiff cleared the courtroom while paramedics examined her, but she recovered and stayed through the rest of the hearing.

Attorneys for Montana and Idaho stressed how gray wolves would be better off under state management.

“There’s no harm to the species by leaving them listed in Wyoming, and there’s benefit to delisting them in Montana and Idaho,” Lane told Molloy. “It’s like a relay race. The states are the stronger runners, and its time for them to take the baton.”

Idaho attorney Steven Strack added there were strong examples where U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had split animal recovery efforts along state lines. In particular, he said the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals okayed separate management plans for Arizona and California in the case of an endangered horned lizard that existed in both states.

Both men also argued that by declaring the wolf a big-game animal, their respective states had legally bound themselves to keeping the wolf healthy and recovered.

Molloy did not allow any rebuttal arguments, and promised he’d have a ruling “as quickly as I can.” The fate of this fall’s big-game wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho await the decision.


I take issue with this statement from the article: 

“The fate of this fall’s big-game wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho await the decision.”

How about the well being and safety of Montana and Idaho wolves await the decision? Who cares about the big game blood lust hunts? And make no mistake about it. This is about money and demand from people who want to hunt wolves. Why else would the Safari Club be involved? It’s not about livestock, or Canadian wolves or tapeworms. Those excuses are smokescreens, the real issue is trophy hunting.

From KBZK.com/Bozeman:

“……environmental groups say Fish and Wildlife has “run roughshod” over the Endangered Species Act and the states aren’t capable of protecting a viable wolf population.”

That says it all.

Posted in: Montana Wolves, Howling For Justice, Wolf Wars, Wolf Delisting Lawsuit

Tags: Judge Molloy, ESA, wolves in crossfire, Earthjustice

Published in: on June 15, 2010 at 2:15 pm  Comments (16)  

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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “Both men also argued that by declaring the wolf a big-game animal, their respective states had legally bound themselves to keeping the wolf healthy and recovered.”!! Do these people honestly expect anyone to buy this crap?! They only want to keep them healthy and alive in order to have people kill them! This is an insult to anyone’s intelligence. I simply cannot believe that Judge Molloy will buy this crap. I simply cannot believe it because I know what it will mean for Wolf.


    • SoCalWolfGal…it’s all about trophy hunts and the states are playing right along with it. Wolves do not deserve to be gunned down with no respect for their lives by some yahoo that loves killing.

      I do feel encouraged by Marc’s account. Doug did wolves proud arguing the case for them. I join Marc and predict wolves will be relisted. I can’t even imagine the other alternative.





    • Yes Agnes, I do feel some hope and looking for Judge Molloy to rule soon or at least by the end of summer before the heinous wolf hunts are supposed to start.



  3. The fate of the big game hunts… there was a line once in this… its back there, a few kilometres from where IDFG and MT FWP first leapt from. September 1, 2009 the day that rational thought died in the Rockies.


    • Wow John you hit the nail on the head!!



  4. Nabeki, Your info is very accurate. I must say Doug Honnold and team came across very well and handled Judge Molloys questions nicely. Doug argued this on its merit! On the other hand I was not impressed with the attorney for Dept of Justice. I think his name was Mike Idle. He talked in circles when trying to answer Judge Molloys question. When he was finished I was dizzy and I am sure he was happy to sit down and shut up! I think Molloy grew tired of trying to get an answer from him. Montana’s attorney Bob Lane tried to convey or convince Judge Molloy rather then argue this re-listing on it merit. Idaho’s Attorney Steve Strack was up to speed and came across well. Unfortunately! However, please keep in mind that this is the same attorney that approximately 18 months ago told Judge Molloy in his courtroom that “Idaho Loves Wolves”. I am going to go out on a limb and say the wolves will be re-listed.


    • Marc, was there a big turnout outside? Did you see any pro wolf supporters there? Some say there were 100 anti wolfers out there. That sound right to you based on what you witnessed when going outside?


      • Jon
        I would have to say that outside the courthouse there were thirty…maybe forty wolf protesters. They stayed in their little group feeding off each other. Inside the courtroom was a little different at first thought. The haters on one side, the lovers on the left side when entering. It seems that Doug Honnold (and team) is always on the left side so you naturally gyrate to the side you feel comfortable with. Doug being on the left side of the court room probably has something to do with court protocol. The anti side filled up quickly which made me think at first there were more haters attending this trial. However, after some thought and observing, I noticed that most of the seat on the hater side were taken up by individuals being paid to be there because of their positions in the States and Federal Government to include hunting groups representatives. So some of the haters had to sit on the opposing side which I am sure made them uncomfortable. I recognized them from past ESA court hearings and other State wolf meetings. I am sure they recognized myself, Jerry Black and some others. What I find interesting is that when they have the security of their hater groups they show bravado. However, when cut from the herd they are little quite meek men! I apologize for not responding sooner! Marc


      • Jon, Sorry for not answering you original question. I don’t know many of the pro wolf people by sight. However, our side of the court room did fill up. I would guess that the court room general seating capacity would be around 100 person bench seats+-. (50 people per side) I do know that DNRC had a presence there. Defenders was noticeably absent as was Western wolf coalition. I was told later by a reliable third party that Derek Goldman of Western Wolf Coalition was to busy to attend! He lives and works in Missoula, Go Figure!


    • Hi Marc,
      Thank you for the summary. So glad you were able to attend!

      It sounds like Doug did a great job. I agree with you and think they will be re-listed. Then it will head to the Ninth Circuit or the USFWS will try and re-write the recovery plan once more. It’s almost like being on a hamster wheel. If wolves are relisted I want them to stay relisted for a long time, they can’t survive without the protection of ESA.



  5. I’m so glad to hear that it sounds like good news and not bad. I was really worried when I heard that the protesters outside of the courtroom were all wolf haters. Hopefully the Judge Molloy’s makes a ruling soon so we won’t have to worry anymore. Wolves need their protection back and fast.


    • It’s pins and needles time Katie. I hate the waiting and who knows how long it will take?



  6. The Missoulian once again misconstrures a major headline “100 protest”. Not all of the people outside were protesting wolves. The Missoulian staff are obviously for the wolf hunt… as that is the only topic they speak of….Is that unbiased news reporting? I think not.


    • g…
      The last time I remember a positive wolf article was George’s guest column a week or two ago..otherwise it’s more of the same, straight from Montana FWP talking points.



  7. The hearing on wolves was last August, not 18 mos ago. FYI. And of course everyone bought the line “Idaho loves wolves”…


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