(Governor’s Office Press Release, February 2, 2023)
Boise, Idaho–Governor Brad Little notified the Biden Administration today of his intention to sue the federal government for its failure to uphold the law and make a required finding on the State of Idaho’s petition to remove grizzly bears from the endangered species list.
“Idaho’s entire congressional delegation and I are lockstep in our demand for answers from the federal government about grizzly bear delisting. Idaho has continually demonstrated leadership in species management, and we expect the federal government to uphold its duties in providing clarity around issues that greatly impact a variety of activities on the ground in our state,” Governor Little said.
Over 10 months ago, Idaho petitioned for delisting the “lower-48” grizzly bear because it does not qualify as a “species” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Under the ESA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) was required to make a 90-day finding by June 7, 2022, but failed to do so.
In today’s letter to the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior and director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Governor Little said, “USFWS has provided only vague excuses and evasive answers as to why the agency has not made an initial determination on Idaho’s petition. USFWS’ lack of transparency on this subject has persisted, despite requests to discuss this subject at various meetings… In November 2022, Idaho’s entire congressional delegation sent a letter to USFWS Director Williams urging response to Idaho’s petition and requesting a status report from USFWS. The delegation’s letter remains unanswered.”
“A determination on Idaho’s petition is what the ESA requires and what grizzly bear conservation and Idahoans deserve. Unless USFWS makes the initial determination on Idaho’s petition within the next 60 days, we intend to file suit,” the Governor added.
The Governor’s letter notifying the State of Idaho’s intent to sue is available here: https://gov.idaho.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/notice_intent_sue_grizzly_2-2-2023_final.pdf