Greens threaten to sue Trump over grizzly bear protections

Greens threaten to sue Trump over grizzly bear protections
© Getty

A coalition of environmental groups is threatening to sue the Trump administration over its decision to remove protections for the Yellowstone grizzly bear.

The green groups, led by Earthjustice, said Friday that ending the threatened listing under the Endangered Species Act was premature and that the Yellowstone grizzly hasn’t shown sufficient signs of recovery.

“With grizzly deaths spiking, now is not the time to declare the great bear recovered and federal protections unnecessary,” Earthjustice attorney Timothy Preso said in a statement.


“The grizzly is a major part of what makes the region in and around Yellowstone National Park so special and unique,” he said. “We should not be taking a gamble with the grizzly’s future.”

Preso is representing the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, the Center for Biological Diversity, the National Parks Conservation Association and the Sierra Club in the case.

The litigants filed a formal notice Friday with the Fish and Wildlife Service — as required under the law — saying that they’ll file a lawsuit in 60 days if the agency does not reverse its decision.

“The rule removing federal protections for America’s beloved Yellowstone grizzly bears is a political decision that is deeply flawed and will reverse so much of the progress that has been made to recover these bears,” Andrea Santarsiere, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.

“We are ready to fight to ensure these bears don’t end up dead at the hands of trophy hunters.”

Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: House Science Committee hits EPA with subpoenas | California sues EPA over Trump revoking emissions waiver | Interior disbands board that floated privatization at national parks Interior disbands advisory board that floated privatization at national parks Overnight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics MORE announced last week that the Yellowstone grizzly would be removed from the threatened list after more than four decades of federal protections.

He argued that the specific grizzly population in and around Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana — which Zinke formerly represented in the House before his appointment — had sufficiently recovered, citing a more than quadrupling of its population and doubling of its range in the four decades.

“This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes; the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of state, tribal, federal and private partners,” he said at the time.

The decision was met with applause from Republicans and state leaders in the affected states, but derision from Democrats and environmentalists, who said it would allow trophy hunting and other harms to the bears.