Molloy Relists Wolves

Thursday U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy ordered the US Fish and Wildlife Service to place Rocky Mountain wolves back on the Endangered Species list.

Judge orders protections reinstated for wolf

By MATT VOLZ, AP, Idaho Statesman, 08/05/10 [here]

A federal judge has ordered endangered species protections reinstated for the gray wolf in Montana and Idaho.

The federal government last year removed protections for wolves in those two states but not Wyoming. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy says in his ruling Thursday the government’s decision was a political solution and does not comply with the federal Endangered Species Act.

Molloy says the entire Rocky Mountain wolf population must be either listed or removed as an endangered species, but the protections can’t be separated by state.

The implication include:

* Wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana have been canceled. State fish and game departments are offering refunds on purchased wolf tags [here].

* Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, and Utah wolves are also now relisted [here].

* The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Wildlife Services (APHIS-WS) proposed program to control wolves in Idaho is now moot [here].

Canadian wolves were (illegally) introduced into Yellowstone by the USFWS in the mid-1990’s. By 2002 wolf populations had exploded, leading the USFWS to recommend delisting (removal from the Endangered Species list). Despite numerous attempts to do so under two Administrations, all delisting efforts have been thwarted by Judge Molloy.

An estimated 5,000 to 6,000 wolves now roam the Northern Rockies in the U.S. Ungulate populations have fallen 90% or more as wolves have decimated deer and elk herds. Livestock losses to wolves have skyrocketed.

Judge Molloy’s decision is [here]. With flowery language (”stentorian agitprop”, “Talmudic disagreement”) Molloy ruled:

…[I]t is not necessarily the case that threatened or endangered status can be determined solely on the basis of scientific evidence alone. Beyond the question of risk is the issue of the acceptability of risk. kl at 73. The decision that a risk is acceptable regarding a specific species is, in turn, an ethical and policy judgment. That means, in many respects, the complications are political. …

…[T]he Court finds:

* The Endangered Species Act does not allow the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list only part of a “species” as endangered, or to protect a listed distinct population segment only in part as the Final Rule here does; and

* the legislative history of the Endangered Species Act does not support the Service’s new interpretation of the phrase “significant portion of its range.” To the contrary it supports the historical view that the Service has always held, the Endangered Species Act does not allow a distinct population segment to be subdivided.

Accordingly, the rule delisting the gray wolf must be set aside because, though it may be a pragmatic solution to a difficult biological issue, it is not a legal one. …

The plain language of the ESA does not allow the agency to divide a DPS into a smaller taxonomy. For this reason, the Rule delisting the northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf DPS must once again be vacated and set aside. …

Thus the ruling hinged on the way the USFWS subdivided the wolf population into “distinct populations segments” — illogical, unscientific, and political chicanery that the USFWS has indulged in with many species.

However, when seen as a whole, the introduced Canadian wolf population is in no way endangered of going extinct. The population of introduced wolves has exploded. There is no evidence that the wolf population has or will decline, and ample evidence that wolves are spreading into states hundreds of miles away from the original dumping ground.

But Judge Molloy did not rule on that point. Instead his ruling was based on a technical interpretation of certain specific language in the ESA.

The USFWS brought on this tragedy in so many ways. First they illegally dumped the Canadian wolves into Wyoming in 1995. Then they immediately declared the (illegal alien) population “endangered” based on no evidence. Then after the wolves multiplied, the USFWS decided to backtrack, but in a manner that twisted the ESA into knots never intended.

Meanwhile the States were cowed and subservient, with the exception of Wyoming and Utah. Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game welcomed wolves with open arms, a misguided gesture that eventually decimated Idaho elk herds and has cost the state hundreds of $millions in mitigation and lost hunting revenues. The IDFG is today under extreme duress from outraged citizens and is hugely disrespected by the taxpayers who fund it.

No informed observer, including Judge Molloy, the USFWS, IDFG, etc. still maintains that wolves are endangered. The USFWS, however, maintains that wolves are endangered in Wyoming but not elsewhere. That is a backhanded way to inflict special punishments on one state by power-drunk Federal civil servants. Judge Molloy ruled that the USFWS cannot hack off Wyoming wolves from the rest of the population, and that if Wyoming wolves are endangered, then they all are.

Further, in 2008 Judge Molloy ruled that Wyoming wolves are genetically isolated [here]. The lunacy of that ruling is that Wyoming (Yellowstone NP) is where the Canadian wolves were dumped in the first place. All the wolves in the Rockies came from wolf genes in Wyoming. Instead of being genetically isolated, Wyoming wolves are the infection pustule that spawned all the wolves.

For some reason Congress has not fired every last USFWS employee and shut the doors of that supremely incompetent and worthless agency.

One Congressman, Rep. Chet Edwards of Texas, has introduced H.R. 6028 which would prohibit treating wolves as an endangered species under the ESA:

H. R. 6028


A BILL — To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to prohibit treatment of the Gray Wolf as an endangered species or threatened species.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


Section 4(a) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(4) The Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) shall not be treated as an endangered species or threatened species for purposes of this Act.”

That would solve the wolf problem but not the USFWS problem.

Meanwhile, state fish and game departments and commissions should prepare for a thorough housecleaning as they have failed miserably to protect citizens from a Federal system gone mad.

8 Aug 2010, 1:34am
by YPmule

After reading so many comments on other sites, I see a pattern developing. The folks that want wolves are not the ones impacted by wolves. They expect the “ranchers” to do the dirty work of killing the problem wolves. (They don’t seem to realize that not all rural residents are ranchers or even hunters…)

Now let’s pretend that instead of wolves, a group has decided to plant a criminal gang into your neighborhood. If you see a car being stolen, you cannot call the police (if you do, they will just say you are mistaken and it’s just kids playing around). The police will have the ability to track the movement of the gang, but the people living in the neighborhood will not be told when the gang is prowling their ‘hood. You will be expected to upgrade your own security, and defend your own property 24/7, as you will never know when the gang may show up. (The police will provide cracker shells and rubber bullets.) If the gang steals your car, and you can prove it with physical evidence, you will be reimbursed, but usually only one out of five cases will be have enough evidence. You will also continue to pay taxes for police protection, except from this gang of criminals (who increase their membership 20% a year and form new gangs.) People who live elsewhere will dislike you if you complain.

8 Aug 2010, 5:44am
by Tom Remington

Mike D. - I believe you are right on the money on this. As ignorant and contradictory as Molloy is and has been, the USFWS is an incompetent agency, run by incompetents, who have certainly added their share of confusion to the process.

I would still like to mention that Molloy’s ruling — simply that the USFWS cannot subdivide a once-created DPS — is stating that the USFWS cannot create a DPS to begin with. If he is saying that the USFWS cannot subdivide only a “Non-Essential DPS”, I guess I’ll have to go back to the ESA for the 3,428th time and see if I can pull that interpretation out of my… well, never mind.

8 Aug 2010, 5:48am
by Wolves Listed, Wolves Delisted: The Incompetent USFWS : Black Bear Blog

[...] For a good perspective on Judge Donald Molloy’s ruling to place wolves back under federal protection and the role of the inept U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, read Mike D’s piece at Western Institute for Study of the Environment. [...]

8 Aug 2010, 9:13pm
by ar

Good job. I’m confused but let me ask this question. To me, Judge Molloy is pointing out USFWS’s errors. Is he saying - go get the illegal dog out of the woods, leaving it to USFWS to basically fess up for every wrong-doing over the dog?

9 Aug 2010, 11:19pm
by Bob F.

Outstanding summary Mike.

I am thrilled that it is out of 9th District Court and headed higher into the Appellate Court. EarthJustice/NRDC’s case unnecessarily languished for over 2 years when Molloy could have ruled in a week and sent it to a higher court.

This pre-designed dilatory tactic allowed wolf populations to grow by an additional 60% and guaranteed dispersal into CO, UT, WA, and OR — thus creating more “threatened” populations and bureaucracies to protect them and exploding the size of the DPS when the original “intent” of the non-essential experiment was merely 78 to 100 wolves in Yellowstone. Now these State agencies are about to get funding from the DOI’s Endangered Species Fund and the Land and Water Conservation Trust (royalties from oil).

One goal of litigation should be about “intent” of the non-essential experiment. Litigation is the only way that “intent” can be put on trial, now that the Left Wing has so successfully hijacked the emotionally-charged politics and the press. Federal court is all about protection of the minority from mob rule. The Left is that “mob” in 2010.

It has been my contention all along that this issue — listing an animal that was not threatened or endangered — would have its day at the United States Supreme Court, over a decade ago. This is why I followed the Administrative law of the Endangered Species Act and FOTNYEH (Friends of the Yellowstone Elk Herd) is the only non-governmental entity on our side to have meticulously preserved in the administrative record the “standing” to sue.

One can only guess that Molloy has a numbered account in Switzerland for his role in buying 3,000 wolves, acknowledged in Dr. L. David Mechs’ 2008 declaration to the federal court, an additional 2+ years to grow by an additional 60%.

22 Aug 2010, 7:41am
by Fred S.

I think everyone understands what a joke the USWS has become. Everyone understands that the Canadian Gray Wolf should have never been introduced in the first place nor protected under “Endangered Status”.

Now it is time for the US Taxpayer and State citizens to buck up and demand a stop to the Federal Government financing this wolf debacle and put all game animals under State management.



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