Feds Argue Judge Who Listed Grizzlies Wrong On Two Counts

May 29, 2019

The federal government is officially pursuing an appeal on a judge's decision to put the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear back under Endangered Species Act protections.

Back in September, a U.S. District Court judge reversed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to delist the Yellowstone grizzly bear. In an opening brief, U.S. Justice Department attorneys wrote the government is only appealing two of the judge's orders. Those decisions include considering the grizzly delisting impact on all the grizzly bear species in the lower 48 and that the bear is threatened by genetic factors.

Brian Nesvik, the director of Wyoming Game and Fish, said it's nice to have the federal government side with the department's opinion.

"By all scientifically developed measures and the majority opinion of grizzly experts, the grizzly is fully recovered and doesn't require protection under the Endangered Species Act," said Nesvik.

However, environmental groups that sided with the judge's decision are disappointed with the government's decision to pursue an appeal. Andrea Santarsiere, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said this decision shows that Trump administration is not serious about the conservation of grizzly bears.

"The only logical path forward is for the Trump administration to work to truly recover bears across the range. So that's why the fact that they are moving forward with this appeal is so disappointing," said Santarsiere.

She also said the federal government should be spending money on furthering the grizzly conservation efforts like working on connecting grizzly bear populations in the country rather than pursuing an appeal. Brian Nesvik said there's always opportunity to spend money on grizzly conservation.

"But in my perspective, the opportunities to spend on grizzly conservation don't necessarily equate to a necessity."

Now, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho will have to file their own opening briefs.