Scientists say the Yellowstone Area Grizzly has recovered and should no longer be listed on the Endangered Species List. It was a conservation success worthy of celebration. Instead of rejoicing, big-city environmentalist groups sued and convinced a judge to keep the bear on the endangered list. Now, in a new lawsuit, the radical groups are using the grizzly again to advance their anti-ranching agenda. If they win, it will allow them to lock up federal lands for decades as lawsuits drag on and on.
For environmental activists and their lawyers, it’s a power grab. But if they win this new lawsuit, Center for Biological Diversity v. Bernhardt, the Westerners living near grizzlies will be the big losers. So long as the Yellowstone grizzly wrongly remains on the endangered list, they can face massive fines and jail time for defending themselves from an attack.
Each distinct population of grizzly bears has a unique recovery plan managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. An extremist environmental group called the Center for Biological Diversity is arguing that they should have the right to challenge every species recovery plan. (These plans are designed by experts and scientists).
The extremists also want to be able to sue for the enforcement of a recovery plan, even though plans are intentionally left flexible for the good of a species. That allows Fish and Wildlife officials to adjust in the best interest of conservation. If they win, scientific experts and wildlife officials will not be able to design and implement plans for endangered species without a lengthy legal battle each step of the way.
The stakes are high and no one stands to lose more than the Westerners who live near the grizzly. Mountain States Legal Foundation is representing them in Wyoming and Utah as we try to stop this environmentalist attempt to seize control of public policy.