WYOMING – Wyoming filed a notice of appeal Wednesday over a Montana judge’s order that returned the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s grizzly population to protections under the Endangered Species Act.
“Wyoming hereby appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth District from this court’s Sept. 24, 2018, opinion and order,” the court document reads.
The notice of appeal was filed Dec. 5 in Montana’s U.S. District Court in Missoula, where lawsuits filed by tribes and conservation groups had been consolidated into one legal proceeding. The Department of the Interior, Secretary Ryan Zinke and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were the primary defendants.
Wyoming’s grizzly hunting season, managed by Wyoming Game and Fish, was set to open Sept. 1 for the first time in years. Judge Christensen imposed two temporary restraining orders against the hunts while the suit continued.
On Sept. 24, Judge Christensen ordered the grizzly delisting’s final rule to be remanded. On Oct. 23, the judge denied the defense’s motion to life the stay and reaffirmed his final judgment to vacate and remand the GYE grizzlies’ delisting.
Andrea Santarsiere, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity that had sued for grizzly protections, said “technically” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also needs to file a notice of appeal to make Wyoming’s notice valid.
DOJ spokesperson Wyn Hornbuckle said Thursday in an email, “As this matter pertains to litigation, the department will decline ot comment.”
“Wyoming’s appeal of the court’s decision to restore protections for Yellowstone’s beloved bears is just wrong,” Santarsiere said in an email Thursday. “We’ll fight to ensure these amazing bears retain the safeguards they need to fully recover.”
If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not appeal, CBD and other plaintiffs will request dismissal of Wyoming’s appeal, she said.