Environment
5:30 pm
Mon October 17, 2011

Environmental groups file to block wolf hunt

BOISE - Environmental groups filed a motion Monday to halt wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana.

Idaho based Friends of the Clearwater and two other groups filed an injunction in the 9th circuit court to immediately stop wolf hunts. The groups fear many wolves will be killed while they appeal a decision that upholds hunting.

Gary Macfarlane with Friends of the Clearwater says filing the injunction now is a toss of the dice.

"It depends on who sits on the panel," he says. "And it depends on how the panel looks at the constitutional issues."

The constitutional issues have to do with separation of powers. Congress removed Idaho's wolves from federal protection earlier this year after a judge had returned them to the endangered species list.

Macfarlane says Congress doesn't have the right to overrule the judge who placed wolves under federal protection.

"You can't merely change a judicial decision without doing anything to the underlying statute," Macfarlane says. "And we're arguing that nothing was done to the underlining statute in this case which is the Endangered Species Act."

If the court grants the injunction, the hunting season stops until the court rules on the appeal. So far hunters have killed 60 wolves in Idaho since the season began in August.

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