Media Advisory, April 2, 2013
||Collette Adkins Giese, Center for Biological Diversity, (651) 955-3821
Maureen Hackett, Howling for Wolves, (612) 250-5915
Minnesota Court of Appeals to Hear Argument on Lawsuit Challenging Wolf Hunting and Trapping
What: The Minnesota Court of Appeals will hear argument tomorrow in a lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources challenging the agency’s failure to provide a formal opportunity for public comment on rules establishing wolf hunting, trapping and snaring.
When: Wednesday, April 3 at 10 a.m.
Where: Courtroom 100, Minnesota Judicial Center, 25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul, Minn.
|Gray wolf photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Retron. This photo is available for media use.
Minnesota’s 2001 wolf-management plan provided that wolves would not be hunted or trapped for five years after removal of their Endangered Species Act protection, but the state legislature eliminated those safeguards by attaching a rider to a 2011 budget bill authorizing the Department of Natural Resources to open wolf hunting if the agency first provided an opportunity for public comment. In January 2012 the wolves’ federal protection was removed; but instead of opening a formal public comment period, the department offered only an online survey.
“The state rushed to issue wolf-hunting and trapping rules without giving people a real chance to voice their opinions,” said Collette Adkins Giese, a Minneapolis-based attorney with the Center, who will present oral argument on behalf of the conservation groups. “Especially considering the tremendous controversy around hunting and trapping of Minnesota’s wolves, state officials had a duty to follow the law carefully and make sure they fully understood how the public felt about their decision.”
The conservation groups support bills in the Minnesota Legislature (S.F. 666 and H.F. 1163) to reinstate the five-year waiting period on recreational wolf hunting and trapping. A recent survey finds that a majority of registered voters in Minnesota want to reinstate a five-year waiting period before a wolf hunt is allowed.
“The majority of Minnesotans want our wolves left alone,” said Maureen Hackett, president of Howling for Wolves. “Minnesotans deserve the opportunity to have their opinions and information considered before wolf hunting and trapping is reauthorized by the DNR.”
The hearing is open to the public. Adkins Giese and Hackett will be available outside the courthouse after the hearing to discuss the case.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 500,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Howling for Wolves was created to be a voice for wild wolves. It aims to educate the public about Minnesota’s wolf population and let people know how they can take action to keep wild wolves in a self-sustaining existence. For more information: www.howlingforwolves.org.