Montana plans to sue over federal wolverine delisting

(The Center Square) – Montana plans on suing the federal government over its recent decision to list wolverines as a threatened species.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks on Friday filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after the agency in November moved to list wolverines in the contiguous U.S. as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

USFWS Pacific Regional Director Hugh Morrison said in November that climate change combined with poor and splintering habitats are “imperiling the North American wolverine.”

“Based on the best available science, this listing determination will help to stem the long-term impact and enhance the viability of wolverines in the contiguous United States,” Morrison said in a press release.

Montana FWP argues in its notice of intent that wolverines don’t meet the ESA’s definition of threatened or endangered and “and are not warranted for listing.”

“The Service’s final rule to list wolverines in the contiguous United States is a violation of the ESA and the factors for species listing,” the agency said.

“In Montana, wolverines continue to do well and inhabit much, if not all, of their available habitat,” Montana FWP Chief of Conservation Policy Quentin Kujala said in a statement. “We work closely with our neighboring states to ensure the continued conservation of these iconic species. Federal protections in this case will only get in the way of good conservation work.”

Gov. Greg Gianforte called the listing “illogical” and an “ill-informed decision” in a statement.

“In Montana, we’ve worked hard to manage and conserve the wolverine population and have partnered with neighboring states on research and monitoring efforts to ensure the future conservation of the species,” the governor said. “Adding a layer of unnecessary bureaucracy does nothing for conservation but does everything to undermine our responsible management of this species.”

A spokesperson for FWS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.