Thursday, October 28, 2010

Enviro group sues over NM, Ariz. wolf listing

An environmental group has sued Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, seeking to force him to rule on a petition to list the Mexican gray wolf in New Mexico and Arizona as an endangered species separate from other gray wolves in North America.

The wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians, Nicole Rosmarino, said the Mexican gray wolves face potential extinction in the wild.

WildEarth Guardians filed its lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in Phoenix, alleging Salazar's decision is overdue.

An Interior Department spokeswoman, Kendra Barkoff, said Thursday the agency cannot comment on pending litigation.

Another conservation group, the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a notice Wednesday of its intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in federal court in Washington, D.C., saying the agency failed to respond to petitions to list the wolf and three other species.

WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity and The Rewilding Institute filed petitions in August 2009 for a separate listing for the Mexican gray wolf.

The Fish and Wildlife Service agreed this August to review the status of the species.

Such a positive finding triggers a one-year status review—an in-depth look to decide if the species should be listed.

But WildEarth Guardians' lawsuit contends Salazar should have decided last November whether to review the wolves' status.

Rosmarino said he had 90 days from the date the petition was filed.

The lawsuit said Salazar should have decided by Aug. 12 whether the listing was warranted.

Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity said Fish and Wildlife "is placing the Mexican gray wolf and other endangered species at increased risk for extinction" by missing deadlines...

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