Yesterday's Missoulian contained a story on the delisting of the gray wolf in Montana and Idaho. The wolf will remain protected under the ESA in Wyoming.
On the issue of a state-centric listing status, EarthJustice's Jenny Harbine states that "a state-by-state approach to delisting is unlawful." This would seem to conflict with the ability of the Fish and Wildlife Service to consider existing regulatory mechanisms in listing determinations — it will be interesting to see the forthcoming delisting decision and how it justifies the exclusion of Wyoming.
Meanwhile, NRDC's Louisa Willcox suggests that some states aren't ready for a delisting:
[B]ecause the plan also fails to guarantee resources needed to help reduce wolf/livestock depredations, the plan doesn't do a lot to help ranchers either. To fill the funding short-fall for wolf management, the states have been calling for federal government bail-out money to manage wolves once they are removed from the federal list. But that's not the way the system works. States get federal funds to help recover imperiled species that are on the endangered species list. The federal funds disappear after a species is delisted. With the current fiscal crisis, what are the chances that taxpayers will choose to spend millions more on wolves? Like so many financial institutions we've heard about recently, the states want to have their cake and eat it too.
We have not seen anything to indicate that Montana and Idaho have called for bailout money for wolf management, but that would make this story even more intriguing if it is in fact true.