MTPR

Tim Preso

A grizzly bear mother and cub in Yellowstone Park.
iStock

The state of Montana filed its final arguments late last week in the complex and controversial lawsuit over the fate of Yellowstone-area grizzly bears.

In the summer of 2017 the Department of the Interior removed Endangered Species Act protections for the roughly 700 bears estimated to live in the area at the time. Tribes and conservation groups promptly filed suit and a federal judge in Missoula restored protections for the bruins last fall

Map of Solenex Lease site in the Badger-Two Medicine near Glacier National Park
Courtesy Montana Wilderness Association

A newly appointed Bureau of Land Management official needs to recuse himself from decisions related to the Badger-Two Medicine area because he has a conflict of interest. That's according to according to the environmental group Earthjustice.

File photo: A grizzly bear sow and cub in Yellowstone National Park.
Jim Peaco - National Park Service (PD)

 Updated 7:00 p.m. 08/30/18

Grizzly bear hunts in Wyoming and Idaho scheduled to begin Saturday were temporarily halted by a federal judge in Missoula Thursday.

U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen issued a temporary restraining order on the hunt after refraining to rule from the bench yesterday on removing Yellowstone area grizzly bears from the endangered species list, as some were expecting.

Bull trout
flickr/USFWS Headquarters

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act Thursday that it says will streamline efforts to protect species and habitat. Critics say the changes would severely erode the law.

Grizzly bear.
(PD)

Several lawsuits were filed Friday against the U.S. government's decision to lift protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area. Some of the groups involved include the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, The Humane Society and Earthjustice.
 
Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso says there’s been a recent spike in local grizzly bear deaths.

For the first time in more than four decades, the Yellowstone grizzly bear is set to lose its federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Citing a rebound in the bear's population, the U.S. Department of Interior announced its intention Thursday to end these protections and return oversight of the animal's status to the state level.

The agency says the rule to remove the grizzly from the endangered species list will be published "in coming days" and "will take effect 30 days after publication."

Map of Solenex lease site in the Badger-Two Medicine near Glacier National Park
Courtesy Montana Wilderness Association

The legal fight over oil and gas drilling leases near Glacier National Park has drawn the support of a coalition of tribal and conservation leaders. In March, the U.S. Department of Interior canceled a 30-year-old oil and gas lease in the Lewis and Clark National Forest - land also known as the Badger-Two Medicine.

Shortly after the federal government canceled the lease, the former leaseholder, Solenex LLC, challenged the government’s authority to do so.

Grizzly bear mother and cub, stock photo.
(PD)

A federal court has ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act when it authorized killing four grizzly bears in Grand Teton National Park.

Solenex well site is the last remaining oil lease in Badger-Two-Medicine.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Today, the parties in a dispute over an oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine area went back to court after failing to reach a settlement. The case has been paused since December, when Louisiana leaseholder Solenex and the Interior Department asked a federal judge for time to work on settling the issue outside of court.

On Friday Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack sent a letter to the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, urging her to cancel the 18 remaining leases on the Forest Service land that’s sacred to the Blackfeet people.
(PD)

The head of the U.S. Forest Service now says he believes that all oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest should be cancelled.

On Friday Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack sent a letter to the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, urging her to cancel the 18 remaining leases on the Forest Service land that’s sacred to the Blackfeet people.

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