As reported by a number of news outlets including The New York Times, Congress is poised to pass an appropriations bill (pdf) to fund the federal government for the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends September 30, 2011, that includes a provision to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the states of Idaho and Montana. The gray wolf would remain listed in Wyoming. (The New York Times, April 13, 2011, by Felicity Barringer and John M. Broder.)
The relevant provision is section 1713 of the bill, which requires the Secretary of the Interior to reissue a final rule delisting the the Northern Rocky Mountains distinct population segment of the gray wolf throughout its range with the exception of that portion within the State of Wyoming. It also specifies that the reissued rule is not subject to judicial review. As we explained in a prior blog post, after the rule was previously issued, environmental groups challenged its legality and a federal district court held that it was unlawful.
In a recent blog post, we reported that a federal district court recently refused to enter a settlement agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and 10 conservation groups that would have lifted ESA protections for the gray wolf in Montana and Idaho.