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October 29, 2008

FWS continues to push outdated delisting rule

On October 24th, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the re-opening of a public comment period on its February 8, 2007 Northern Rockies wolf delisting rule – a rule that has not only been criticized by a federal court, but was also voluntarily withdrawn by the FWS a little over a week ago. Below is a statement by Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife, regarding their announcement.

“It is shocking - although not entirely surprising - that the FWS is still trying to push a failed delisting rule out the door before the Bush administration turns out the lights.

“This hasty action undermines the serious work, consideration and cooperation among all stakeholders that is necessary before proposing any new rule. Rushing to ram this flawed and repackaged rule does not give the Fish and Wildlife Service time to address the flaws underscored by the court when it rebuked the agency earlier this year.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service is merely repackaging a severely flawed rule instead of taking a fresh look at the management of wolves in the region. The original proposal allows around 1,000 wolves to be killed as soon as they lose the protections of the Endangered Species Act –slashing the population by as much as two thirds.

“What we need is to take a step back, bring all the stakeholders to the table and devise a plan that is informed, inclusive and balanced. Without full cooperation among interested parties, we’ll end up in the same ineffective tug-of-war that has dominated the scene during this administration. The Bush administration had its chance to come up with a responsible management plan and blew it.

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