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WildEarth Guardians v. U.S. Forest Service

ELR Citation: 51 ELR 20005
Nos. 1:19-cv-00203-CWD, (D. Idaho, 12/23/2020) (Dale, J.)

A district court denied FWS' and the Forest Service's motion to dismiss a challenge to their bear baiting policy for black bear hunting in national forests in Idaho and Wyoming. Environmental groups argued that the number of grizzly bears taken due to hunting black bears using bait in the states' national forests exceeded the level of permissible incidental take set forth in FWS' 1993 biological opinion (BiOp), thus triggering the Services' duty to reinitiate consultation under the ESA. The agencies moved to dismiss, arguing the suit was moot because the Forest Service purported to withdraw its request for consultation and to withdraw or rescind the 1993 BiOp. The court found that neither FWS' 1993 BiOp nor the Forest Service's 1995 national policy, which had supported the conclusions reached by the 1993 BiOp, had been rescinded and thus that the suit was not moot. It therefore denied the agencies' motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.