State set to sue over grizzly bears endangered status
By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
The State of Idaho sent a notice of its intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the Biden Administration’s failure to remove grizzly bears from the endangered species list.
Wednesday’s action comes after the Idaho Legislature passed House Joint Memorial 5, which sought to delist the grizzly bear from the list in the lower 48 states.
According to the Governor’s Office, Idaho petitioned for delisting the “lower-48” grizzly bear – meaning grizzlies outside of Alaska – because it does not qualify as a “species” under the Endangered Species Act. The state claims that under the ESA, the USFWS was required to make a 90-day finding by June 7, 2022, but failed to do so.
In February, Little sent a letter to USFWS demanding the agency uphold the law and make a required finding on the state of Idaho’s petition to remove grizzly bears from the endangered species list. The agency responded with a decision, and the state filed its appeal Wednesday.
“Idaho’s entire congressional delegation and the State of Idaho are lockstep in efforts to delist grizzly bears,” Little said in a news release. “Idaho has continually demonstrated leadership in species management, and we have never hesitated to push back on the federal government’s overreaching actions that greatly impact a variety of activities on the ground in our state.”
“Politicians in Washington continue to use outdated endangered species protections to encroach on state sovereignty,” Attorney General Raúl Labrador said in the news release. “In their desire to stop Idahoans from hunting or managing our own destiny, they pretend Idaho cannot handle the management of species. Our state intends to conserve our grizzly populations while balancing the need for limiting dangerous human-bear interactions. This issue, like most, belongs in the hands of the state, not the federal government.”
Though Idaho Fish and Game has linked grizzly bears to fatal livestock attacks, there have been no human fatalities reported in modern times.