Wolf Delisting Lawsuit Briefs, Alliance For the Wild Rockies

Here are the briefs submitted to the court by Alliance for the Wild Rockies, in support of their lawsuit, challenging the wolf delisting rider.  If successful,  it would find the rider, that was attached to a must pass budget bill, unconstitutional, which I believe it to be.

What the Senate did was egregious. They allowed gray wolves to be thrown under the bus by voting for the budget  bill,  hoping to please Senator Jon Tester, who is running a tight race against Denny Rehberg, for his Senate seat in 2012. In essence Rehberg and Tester are trying to out-wolf each other and capture the  anti-wolf vote. They’re both running on the issue.

The Senate could easily have stripped the rider out of the budget bill or allowed an up or down vote on the rider, as  they did for the other two riders included in the budget bill,  Planned Parenthood and Obamacare.  Senators voted up or down on both those riders and both were defeated but they left the wolf delisting rider in place, which allowed them to vote on the budget bill with the rider still attached.

I think it was sneaky and underhanded.  In my opinion, the Senators didn’t want to “go on the record” and vote for the wolf delisting rider outright, so they tucked it away in the budget bill.  The ESA was used and abused for political gain. For the first time, a species like the wolf, who has a long history of persecution and ultimately extermination in the West, was stripped of their ESA protections. If any species deserves ESA protection, it’s the gray wolf.

  Only three Democrats voted against the budget bill: e.g., Leahy , Levin and Wyden. Bernie Sanders, (I-VT) voted against it as well. President Obama then signed the bill into law with the rider attached and lo and behold, wolves were stripped of their ESA protections by budget rider.  That’s the whole sad, disgusting story.  The day the Democrats sold out wolves for Jon Tester’s Senate seat. I think he’ll be defeated because he is never going to out-do Rehberg on wolves. The entire exercise of delisting wolves was for nothing.

•Brief, May 31, 2011


•Statement of Undisputed Facts, May 31, 2011


•Reply June 21, 2011



Links to the briefs can also be found on Alliance for the Wild Rockies website.

Please visit AWR and give generously in support of this very important wolf litigation.

Just to remind everyone what this lawsuit it all about I included an opinion piece, which appeared in the Christian Science Monitor in April 2011, which succinctly details the delisting of the Northern Rockies gray wolf via budget rider. It explains why this action by Congress was so egregious and wrong.

The Senate’s reckless disregard for the ESA and the political delisting of wolves,  prompted the mounting of a legal challenge by Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater and WildEarth Guardians, to seek to right the wrong done to wolves by the 112th Congress and the President.

Opinion Christian Science Monitor

True cost of budget deal will be paid in blood – of gray wolves

One of the most unfortunate riders of the recent budget deal is the decision to strip the gray wolf of the protections of the Endangered Species Act. Science has been subordinated to political instrumentalism, setting a dangerous precedent for the future.

By David N. Cassuto / April 19, 2011

Williamstown, Mass.

Many words have been spent on the budget compromise struck between Republicans and Democrats in the 11th hour a couple weeks ago, narrowly avoiding a government shutdown. In the days since, details of this budget agreement have slowly emerged, but few actually know what it fully entails – and what it really means for Americans. Perhaps this is because Congress and the president appear to have had a similarly limited understanding of the nature and scope of the cuts they agreed upon.

Nevertheless, President Obama and members of Congress did know that they agreed on a few things having nothing whatsoever to do with the budget, budget cuts, or with federal spending at all. One of the most unfortunate of these “budget” agreement riders is the decision to strip the gray wolf of the protections of the Endangered Species Act. In the 37-year history of the Act, no species has ever been delisted for purely political reasons. Prior to last week, science guided such decisions. Now, science will be subordinated to political instrumentalism, setting a dangerous precedent for the future.

Read More: http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2011/0419/True-cost-of-budget-deal-will-be-paid-in-blood-of-gray-wolves


Photo: All About Wolves

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: Wolf delisting lawsuit, Judge Molloy, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater, WildEarth Guardians, Jon Tester, Denny Rehberg, gray wolves, ESA, budget bill

Press Release: Conservation Groups Challenge Wolf Delisting Rider…

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 5, 2011


Michael Garrity, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, 406-459-5936 or garritymichael@yahoo.com

Gary MacFarlane, Friends of the Clearwater, 208-882-9755, gary@wildrockies.org

Nicole Rosmarino, WildEarth Guardians, 505-699-7404 or nrosmarino@wildearthguardians.org

Conservation Groups Challenge Wolf Delisting Rider

Lawsuit Seeks to Restore Federal Protection to Gray Wolves in Northern Rockies

 Missoula, MT—May 5. Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater, and WildEarth Guardians today filed suit in federal court in Montana against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for delisting wolves in Montana, Idaho, and portions of Utah, Washington, and Oregon. The Service published the delisting rule today in compliance with a Congressional budget rider passed on April 15.

 “We will not allow the fate of endangered species to be determined by politicians serving special interests,” stated Michael Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies.  “These decisions must be based on science, not politics, and Congress has never before removed species from the Endangered Species list by political fiat.  There is a well-established legal process that applies to every other species and pure political expediency should not be the driving force over which of our nation’s imperiled animals and plants will or will not be protected for future generations.”

 The groups charge in their complaint that the delisting rider, which was sponsored by Montana U.S. Senator Jon Tester and Idaho Representative Mike Simpson, violates the U.S. Constitution because it specifically repeals a judicial decision. While Congress has the right to make and amend laws, the wolf delisting rider (Section 1713 of the budget law, PL 112-10) does not amend the Endangered Species Act — it circumvents the judicial process by ordering the reinstatement of the 2009 rule that delisted wolves.

“The rider goes against a bedrock principle of our democracy: checks and balances between branches of government,” said Nicole Rosmarino of WildEarth Guardians.  “Legislators can’t pick off specific court decisions they don’t like.  That’s not fair for the wolf, and it’s certainly not good for our democracy.”

 The 2009 rule that delisted wolves was challenged by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater and 12 other organizations on the basis that it violated the Endangered Species Act by revoking protection for wolves based on the political boundaries of state lines.  Montana Federal Judge Donald Molloy agreed with the conservation groups and determined last August that the 2009 rule was illegal and struck down the 2007 Interior Solicitor’s legal memo on which it was based.

 The current Interior Solicitor, Hilary Tompkins, revoked the illegal 2007 memo yesterday,  but the withdrawal of the illegal memo came too late for wolves in the Northern Rockies.  Those wolves are now facing drastic policies at the state level. Montana announced earlier this week that it will likely allow up to 220 of the 566 wolves in the state to be killed this year. In late April, Idaho passed a law declaring a gray wolf “disaster emergency” that gives the governor broad discretion to allow wolf killing statewide.

 Killing proposals at the local level – the Lolo Elk Management Zone in Idaho and the West Fork of the Bitterroot in Montana – would permit over half of the resident wolves to be killed. The conservation groups filing today’s lawsuit against the delisting rider are also challenging those local wolf-killing plans.

 “We are doing all we can to hold back the tide of wolf-killing in Montana, Idaho, and elsewhere in the Northern Rockies,” said Gary Macfarlane of Friends of the Clearwater, who explained that Idaho’s Fish and Game Department are planning on using aerial gunning to immediately begin killing wolves in the Clearwater basin.  “This ecologically important species is being unfairly targeted out of ignorance and intolerance and now lack a federal shield from being killed.”

 There has been widespread concern over tacking policy riders on the budget bill.  Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber sent a letter to President Obama in late April stating: “A six-month budget resolution negotiated through backroom discussions is clearly the wrong vehicle to make permanent changes to significant public policy. For nearly 40 years, the Endangered Species Act has assured decisions about our nation’s natural heritage are driven by science, fish and wildlife professionals, and public input. Removing protection for an endangered species by congressional mandate, much less through a budget bill, stands in unprecedented contrast to this history. This action erodes the integrity of the ESA, excludes important public involvement, and usurps the agency structure, based on a balancing of executive and legislative branch power, that exists to undertake important decisions affecting America’s wildlife.”

 “We’re back in court for two reasons,” concluded Garrity.  “First and foremost, it’s to continue to protect wolves from indiscriminate slaughter.  Second, someone has to stand up when the basic tenets of our government are under attack by unscrupulous politicians and that would be the Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater and WildEarth Guardians.”


Environmental groups sue government over wolf delisting



Photo: Courtesy Wolfgang Art Gallery free wolf photos

Posted in: Action Alerts, gray wolf

Tags: challenging wolf delisting rider, wolves going back to court, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater, WildEarth Guardians

Please Support Alliance For The Wild Rockies & Friends Of The Clearwater

Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Friends of the Clearwater are consulting with their attorneys about challenging the wolf delisting rider in court, on constitutional grounds.

Please click on the links below to visit their websites.  Show your support with generous donations.

Alliance For the Wild Rockies

Friends of the Clearwater

 They showed courage and conviction, standing firm for wolves while the other ten plaintiffs brokered a deal with USFWS.

Of course the “settlement”  by the 10 groups was ultimately rejected by Judge Molloy.

He stated in part:

“[The] District Court is still constrained by the “rule of law.” No matter how useful a course of conduct might be to achieve a certain end, no matter how beneficial or noble the end, the limit of power granted to the District Court must abide by the responsibilities that flow from past political decisions made by the Congress. The law cannot be ignored to accommodate a partial settlement. The rule of law does not afford the District Court the power to decide a legal issue but then at the behest of some of the litigants to reverse course and permit what the Congress has forbidden because some of those interested have sensibly, or for other reasons, decided to lay a dispute to rest.”

  But the victory was short-lived because the Senate allowed Jon Tester (D-MT) to slip a wolf delisting rider into a must-pass appropriations bill.  81 Senators voted  for the budget bill and in turn sold wolves down the river. They even allowed the language of the rider to be rewritten so it wouldn’t jeopardize Wyoming’s court case, in pursuit of delisting their wolves. The rider reads:

“Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this division, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on April 2, 2009 (74 Fed. Reg. 15123 et seq.) without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. Such reissuance (including this section) shall not be subject to judicial review and shall not abrogate or otherwise have any effect on the Order and Judgment issued by the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming in Case Numbers 09-CV-118J and 09-CV-138J on November 18, 2010.”

There was literally no support for wolves in the Senate. The months of emailing, faxing and writing Congress were in vain. The most appalling part of  this sad story is the majority of Democrats voted for the wolf delisting budget bill. Only three Democrats voted against it. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, also voted no. The rest of the no votes were Republicans.


Just to remind everyone:

Settlement Between 10 Environmental Groups and USFWS



Groups lay out opposition to proposed wolf settlement



Judge Blocks Deal Lifting Protections For Wolves

by The Associated Press



Endangered Wolves Sacrificed in Budget Deal



Afraid for Wolves


Photo: Courtesy All About Wolves

Posted in: Wolf Wars, endangered species act

Tags: wolves in peril, wolf scapegoating, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater, political assault on the ESA


Northern Rocky Grey Wolf Settlement

Submitted by foc on Tue, 03/22/2011 – 3:28pm


According to the Associated Press and Lewiston Morning Tribune, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) has reached an agreement with ten conservation groups to de-list wolf populations in Idaho and Montana, while maintaining, for the time being, federal protection for wolves in Washington, Oregon, Wyoming and Utah. These ten organizations were some of the groups involved in a lawsuit that won protection for wolves Iast year.  Under this agreement, a 2011 hunt would be permitted in Idaho and Montana, the USFWS would stay involved in monitoring wolf populations in both states, and an independent scientific panel would be established to review the outdated recovery goal of 300 wolves in the Northern Rockies. The settlement includes no requirements to protect any specific minimum number of wolves in Idaho and Montana.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Western Watersheds Project and Friends of the Clearwater are not part of this settlement even though we were involved in the conservation group lawsuit that won protection for wolves Iast year. In August 2010, Judge Molloy correctly placed Northern Rocky grey wolves back on the Endangered Species list because, under the Endangered Species Act, imperiled wildlife populations cannot be de-listed according to state boundaries. We will continue to work toward wolf recovery according to the law, not political threats. Instead, we have retained attorneys to ask U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy to stand by his decision and deny the settlement. In any case, this settlement can’t guarantee that Congress will not pass legislation that would permanently de-list grey wolves from the Endangered Species list.

We greatly appreciate the continued support from citizens around the country. Don’t hesitate to call our office (208) 882-9755 if you have questions or concerns. If you like to blog, consider visiting Howling For Justice: https://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/.

Other groups, like Defenders of Wildlife, who was a party to the settlement, are looking for feedback as well. Here is a link to comment:



Please Support Friends of the Clearwater.  They are not part of this settlement and are working to keep wolves protected in the Northern Rockies!


Photo: Courtesy of kewlwallpapers.com

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Action Alerts

Tags: Friends of the Clearwater, gray wolf, Montana and Idaho wolves, settlement puts wolves in jeopardy

“Sticking Up for Wolves in the Northern Rockies”…WildEarth Guardians Speaks Out!

WildEarth Guardians released their response to the deal that was cut between ten environmental groups and the Interior Department.

To read the deal CLICK HERE.

They applaud, as I do, the three environmental groups involved in the lawsuit who oppose this deal and are standing firm. They are: Western Watersheds Project, Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Friends of the Clearwater:\


Press Release From WildEarth Guardians:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sticking Up for Wolves in the Northern Rockies

Guardians Defends Judge Molloy’s Wolf Ruling

Washington, DC – March 18. WildEarth Guardians supports Federal Judge Donald Molloy’s August 2010 decision that put wolves in the Northern Rockies back on the endangered species list and also set important legal precedent. But today, the Interior Department and 10 environmental groups announced a settlement that agrees to wolf delisting and specifically seeks to vacate the Judge Molloy’s decision. Guardians applauds Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Western Watersheds Project, and Friends of the Clearwater for continuing to support Molloy’s ruling and not going along with the delisting plan.

“The biological situation for wolves in the Northern Rockies is just as perilous now as when these groups challenged the delisting in June 2009,” stated John Horning of WildEarth Guardians. “Amazingly, the settlement asks for the judge to approve delisting on terms that violate his ruling.”

The very first term of the agreement would be to delist wolves in Idaho and Montana, which is precisely what the groups challenged in 2009. It also provides for subsequent delisting in Wyoming. The settlement relies on the initiative of the Interior Department to secure a future for Northern Rockies wolves outside of the Endangered Species Act. Guardians believes that wolf numbers will drastically plummet after delisting and doubts that, once delisted, wolves in the region would obtain relisting.

The settlement is no doubt motivated by fears regarding wolf delisting bills that have been introduced in the House and Senate, which would greatly undercut wolf protection and would be precedent-setting by legislatively delisting a species. Despite these grave threats, the Endangered Species Act requires delisting decisions to be based on biological, not political concerns. That is the standard to which Guardians holds the government and itself. Guardians will not gamble the lives of Northern Rockies wolves on the chance of preventing Congressional delisting. To our knowledge, no federal legislator who has offered a delisting bill has agreed to withdraw it even if this settlement is approved.

Guardians is also concerned that the wolves are being sacrificed due to antagonism from just a tiny portion of the American public – those ranchers and hunters hostile to wolves, and the politicians that are working at their behest. In contrast, wolves are wildly popular with the American public and one of the principal draws to Yellowstone National Park.

“It doesn’t matter from the wolf’s perspective whether they’re killed because of actions by Congress or this settlement. These animals need more protections, not less,” stated Nicole Rosmarino of WildEarth Guardians. “Biologists have issued peer-reviewed articles documenting that wolves have not yet recovered in the Northern Rockies, and that killing them has profound negative influences on their social stability, ability to carry out their ecological function, and their ability to persist.”

Guardians considered filing litigation to challenge the delisting rule in 2009, but chose not to given the large number of conservation groups already taking the issue up. The group now regrets that decision and appreciates that Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Western Watersheds Project, and Friends of the Clearwater are holding the line for wolves in Yellowstone and the Northern Rockies.

“The American public loves and values wolves and wants them conserved because they are a national treasure. We at WildEarth Guardians strive for wolves’ full protection under federal law. If their management is given over to the States, we will see them exterminated a second time in history. This would be unethical and a biological disaster,” said Horning.

The Humane Society of the United States is one of the plaintiffs on the original delisting case but has not yet taken a public stand on the settlement.

CLICK HERE for link to this press release


I will be writing more about this as it unfolds.

Howling For Justice unequivocally opposes this deal. You cannot throw Montana and Idaho wolves under the bus and deliver them to brutal state-management/killing systems. It is wrong, no matter what altruistic motives may be assigned to it. In short order we will have full-scale wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho, if this deal is approved. THAT MEANS hundreds and hundreds of innocent wolves will die! Not only will Montana and Idaho wolves have to dodge hunter’s bullets but also the deadly aerial gunning, trapping/killing of hundreds of wolves by Wildlife Services.

Before wolves were relisted, Montana increased their wolf killing quota to 186 wolves, with a wolf archery and back-country rifle season to boot. Idaho will implement baiting, calling and trapping of wolves.  All hell will rain down on Montana and Idaho wolves. This deal is a disaster and I call on you Wolf Warriors to write to the groups that struck this deal and tell them how you feel.

For the wolves, For the wild ones,


Posted in Wolf Wars, Montana Wolves, Idaho Wolves

Tags: WildEarth Guardians, 10 environmental groups, wolves lose in Montana and Idaho,bad deal struck, capitulation,  3 groups stood their ground, Western Watersheds Project, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater

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