Defenders In the News
A long-awaited study on wild bison weighs restoring the burly animals to public, tribal or private lands in Montana more than a century after they were driven to near-extinction. But the 170-page draft study released Thursday by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks steers clear of the crucial question of where bison restoration work will occur.
Surrounded by red rock, an hour’s drive north of iconic Zion National Park, Cedar City, Utah, has more than doubled its population since 1990. The town transformed from a quiet ranching community to an up-and-coming hotspot for retirees and outdoors enthusiasts. But the growth hasn’t just been for people. Utah prairie dogs, which live only in this region, numbered just a few thousand animals in the early 1970s due to trapping, poisoning and disease, which earned them full protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Today, there are roughly 40,000 prairie dogs, and the rodents have been upgraded to threatened status.
This summer the federal government plans to release Mexican gray wolf pups bred in captivity directly into New Mexico for the first time – part of what it says is an effort to encourage the endangered lobo’s recovery – if the state grants permission. Wolves have been bred in captivity in New Mexico for years but then released in Arizona, where some eventually were captured for one of various reasons and then relocated to New Mexico. But a new management rule that took effect in February permits the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to introduce “new” wolves, or those bred in captivity, directly into the New Mexico wild – a critical step, advocates say, toward improving the genetics of the population.
A Philadelphia jurist’s nomination for a federal appeals court is moving forward now that Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has given his endorsement and the Senate Judiciary Committee has finished vetting Judge L. Felipe Restrepo, who serves on the Eastern District of Pennsylvania bench. Democrats have been relentlessly pressuring Mr. Toomey to sign off on the the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals nomination, but he held firm. Initially he dodged questions about why he was withholding the blue slip of paper signifying his formal endorsement. However, he later said in a Post-Gazette op-ed piece that he would wait until the Judiciary Committee finished its background investigation.
Greater sage grouse feathers stick in the craws of Utah politicians. U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop is raising the specter that efforts to protect the lowly, but threatened, bird will endanger military training operations. Defense Department leaders say that’s a nonstarter. But last week, Bishop still amended an annual defense bill barring the listing of the bird under the federal Endangered Species Act for a decade — just in case.
Greater sage grouse feathers stick in the craws of Utah politicians. U. S. Rep. Rob Bishop is raising the specter that efforts to protect the lowly, but threatened, bird will endanger military training operations. Defense Department leaders say that's a nonstarter . But last week, Bishop still amended an annual defense bill barring the listing of the bird under the federal Endangered Species Act for a decade — just in case
The Obama administration is close to granting final approval to a multi-state power line project that would allow wind-generated electricity in Wyoming to power homes and businesses from Las Vegas to San Diego, Calif., but that still has some environmentalists concerned about potential impacts to greater sage grouse.
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., this week rejected a lawsuit by more than a dozen logging, grazing and off-highway vehicle groups that sought to overturn the Forest Service's 2012 planning rule, marking a major win for the Obama administration and conservation groups.
Gov. Steve. Bullock will have the final say over a bill that gives county commissioners veto power over state efforts to transplant bison to new homes in Montana. Senate Bill 284 gives a board of county commissioners power to review and deny proposals by the state Department of Livestock or the state Department of Fish and Game to move bison.
Construction is slated to start this fall on a major overhaul of a small irrigation dam along the lower Yellowstone River to allow endangered pallid sturgeon to pass upstream more easily, officials said Wednesday. The completion of an environmental study on the project earlier this month means the $59 million project can proceed, said Brent Esplin, Bureau of Reclamation area manager for the Great Plains region.