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Wyoming Files Appeal To Take Yellowstone Grizzly To Court Again

Dwayne Reilander via CC BY-SA 4.0

Wyoming plans to appeal a U.S. District Court Judge's decision from September to put the Yellowstone grizzly bear back on endangered species act protections.

On Wednesday, the Wyoming Attorney General's office filed a notice of appeal that the state plans to challenge the judge's decision that delisting the bear could hurt its long-term well-being and that the federal government didn't consider the entire grizzly population.

Cody Wisniewski is an attorney representing Wyoming farmers and ranchers who want the grizzly delisted.

"Wyoming is going to be greatly affected by the district court's decision," Wisniewski said. "The area affected by the grizzly delisting is in Wyoming… I mean Yellowstone National Park is 96 percent in the state of Wyoming."

He said his clients will also consider an appeal. But environmental groups like the Center for Biological Diversity caution Wyoming's appeal is unlikely to be upheld by the court.

"The lower court remanded the case to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service so the ball is really in U.S. Fish and Wildlife's court," said Andrea Santarsiere, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. "Unless Fish and Wildlife also appeal, the state of Wyoming's appeal is not valid."

Wyoming officials say it may be harder to win but they do have a case. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Montana and Idaho have until December 24 to join Wyoming.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

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