OAKLAND, Calif.— Conservation advocates will present oral arguments Friday in U.S. District Court in a case that will decide whether federal Endangered Species Act protection is restored to gray wolves across much of the country.
What: Oral arguments in three related lawsuits challenging the 2020 decision to remove federal protection from wolves. The lead case is titled Defenders of Wildlife et al v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service et al (4:21-cv-00344-JSW).
When: Friday, Nov. 12, 9 a.m. Pacific.
Where: The hearing will be conducted remotely and can be watched via Zoom here: https://www.cand.uscourts.gov/judges/jsw/
Who: Senior District Judge Jeffrey S. White will preside over the hearing.
On Oct. 29, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a rule that removed protection from all gray wolves in the lower 48 states except for a small population of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.
One year before this rule was finalized, 1.8 million Americans submitted comments opposing the wolf delisting. Eighty-six members of Congress (in both the House and Senate), 100 scientists, 230 businesses and 367 veterinary professionals also submitted letters opposing the wolf delisting plan. Even the scientific peer reviews commissioned by the Service itself found that the agency’s proposal to delist wolves ignored science and appeared to come to a predetermined conclusion, with inadequate scientific support.
On Jan. 4, 2021, the delisting went into effect. And on Jan. 14, six environmental groups filed a lawsuit challenging the decision to delist the gray wolf. Earthjustice filed the lawsuit on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, Oregon Wild and the Humane Society of the United States.
The National Resources Defense Council and a coalition of other environmental groups led by the Western Environmental Law Center filed related lawsuits.