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Trump administration faces suit over removal of endangered species protections for gray wolves

Trump administration faces suit over removal of endangered species protections for gray wolves
© getty

The Trump administration is facing a lawsuit over its recent decision to remove endangered species protections for gray wolves. 

On Friday, a coalition of conservation groups filed a notice of intent to sue over the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decision, which was finalized late last month. 

The FWS rule lifts more than 45 years of protections for the wolves, except for a small band of Mexican gray wolves present in Arizona and New Mexico. 

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The new notice argued that the basis for the decision was both legally flawed and not based on the best available science. It cited a peer review commissioned by the government that was critical of the delisting proposal.

“Given that gray wolves in the lower 48 states occupy a fraction of their historical and currently available habitat, the Fish and Wildlife Service determining they are successfully recovered does not pass the straight-face test,” said John Mellgren, an attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, in a statement on Monday. 

“While the Trump administration may believe it can disregard science to promote political decisions, the law does not support such a stance,” Mellgren added. 

FWS spokesperson Vanessa Kauffman defended the delisting decision in an email to The Hill, saying it "reflects the Trump Administration’s continued commitment to species conservation based on the parameters of the law and the best scientific and commercial data available." 

"After more than 45 years as a listed species, the gray wolf has exceeded all conservation goals for recovery. This action reflects the determination that this species is neither a threatened nor endangered species based on the specific factors Congress has laid out in the law,” Kauffman said.

Updated at 5:46 p.m.