Protection for Predators Sought, and a Victory for Public Lands!

Online Messenger #262

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In a effort to stop a wolf and coyote killing contest planned for next weekend in Salmon, Idaho, Western Watersheds Project and our conservation allies filed a lawsuit in federal court today, raising the failure of the U.S. Forest Service (“USFS”) to analyze the environmental impacts of the predator slaughter on public lands.

The “1st Annual 2-Day Coyote and Wolf Derby” has gained national notoriety for its aims to award prize money for the largest wolf killed and the most coyotes killed, as well as the special awards to encourage the participation of children as young as 10 years old. This type of contest is disrespectful of native wildlife and the important role predators play in restoring the balance of nature.

But it isn’t just offensive; it’s illegal. This type of commercial activity (the derby charges an entry fee) is prohibited from public lands without proper permitting, which requires National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) review. Today’s lawsuit aims to restrict the use of national forests for this weekend’s derby and to include public review of permitting for future sport-killing events.

Thanks to WildEarth Guardians Senior Attorney Sarah McMillan and the Law Office of Dana Johnson for representing plaintiffs in this suit.

A Legal Settlement Brings a Victory for Public Lands

Western Watersheds Project and our allies were pleased last week to have reached a settlement agreement within the USFS, the State of Wyoming, and a suite of livestock interests regarding the need to conduct NEPA review on grazing decisions. A subset of the broad categorical exclusion lawsuit filed in 2010, this case concerned ten grazing decisions on allotments in five forests in Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. Instead of going to a hearing, the USFS agreed to issue new grazing decisions with full NEPA reviews according to a mutually acceptable schedule. WWP will stay involved at every step in that process to be sure that the public lands and the species that depend on them will be protected from abusive livestock grazing.

Thanks to attorney Laurie Rule at Advocates for the West for her tenacity in securing this victory!

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