Overcome barriers to Endangered Species recovery
April 20, 2016
"We need boots on the ground, not briefcases in the courtroom."
Washington, D.C.-U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (WY-At large), Chairman of Oversight and Government Reform's Subcommittee on the Interior, held the first part of two hearings on "Barriers to Endangered Species Act Delisting". Two Wyoming witnesses joined to testify at the hearing on the issues that Wyoming communities face when serial litigants tie up boots-on-the-ground work in courtrooms.
"With the herculean effort of delisting the gray wolf continually undermined by serial litigants and out of touch federal judges, Wyoming understands all too well the updates that the Endangered Species Act desperately needs," said Rep. Lummis. "I appreciate both Ms. Budd-Falen and Commissioner Bousman's testimony and participation in our hearing and I will continue pushing to improve the Endangered Species Act with local, boots-on-the-ground conservation instead of briefcases in the courtroom."
"If we could somehow redirect a little bit the Fish and Wildlife Service to become more of a resource for state and local governments to say 'how can we help you meet the goals, the conservation goals of a species' we could be much more effective on the ground," said Mr. Joel Bousman, Chairman, Sublette County Commissioners.
"I think the most frustrating thing about the wolf case for the people in Wyoming was the fact that that case got litigated in Washington, D.C. rather than in Wyoming, with a Wyoming federal district judge who knew the people, who knew the land, who knew the state," said Ms. Karen Budd-Falen, Senior Partner, Budd-Falen Law Offices, LLC Cheyenne, Wyoming. "I think the second problem is, is that after the wolf case got sent back to Wyoming because they didn't have a written commitment from the Governor, the legislature and the Game and Fish immediately acted to put in that true written commitment on wolf recovery in place but the case was over the court wouldn't recognize it and then the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refused to recognize it. So Wyoming tried to fix the problem identified by the court and it didn't help."