St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Two organizations have filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota DNR concerning the upcoming wolf hunt in the state.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Howling for Wolves are challenging what they call failure on the Minnesota DNR's part to offer a formal public comment period on recently approved rules establishing wolf hunting and trapping in Minnesota.
“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.
The conservation groups are seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the opening of hunting and trapping seasons this fall until the courts can come to a decision on this lawsuit.
According to the complaint, the DNR used an expedited emergency process, that is allowed under Minnesota law, to create the wolf hunt. However, the petitioners argue that the DNR had no "valid basis to use the expedited emergency rule-making process".
Under the emergency rule-making process, the DNR is required to provide a 25-day public comment period. The DNR did set up a 30 day online survey for the public concerning the wolf hunt, however the petitioners argue that the survey is not a formal public comment period.
The Minnesota DNR sent out a news release saying that the agency and the Attorney General have not had time to review the petition and have no comment on the legal proceeding at this time.
However, the DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr released the following statement:
“The DNR recognizes there is a wide range of opinions toward wolf hunting and trapping, but all Minnesotans should know the DNR’s primary wolf management goal is to ensure the long-term survival of the wolf. The DNR’s conservative approach to this first season is based on sound conservation science and principles.”
Minnesota’s 2001 wolf-management plan provided that wolves would not be hunted or trapped for five years after any removal of their Endangered Species Act protection.
However the state legislature got rid of that rule in 2011 when it passed its budget bill that included authorization for the DNR to create a wolf hunting season, if the agency first provided an opportunity for public comment.
“Wolves already die at high rates from many causes, including human intolerance and persecution,” said Maureen Hackett, founder and president of Howling for Wolves. “Minnesotans benefit economically, culturally and ecologically by having wolves in the wild. As a state, we have so much to gain by keeping wolves undisturbed.”
The Minnesota wolf season is set to open on November 3rd with the opening of the deer firearms season.
The gray wolf was taken off the Endangered Species List in the Great Lakes states in December of 2011 and went into effect in January 2012. The management of the gray wolf in Minnesota was then turned over to the DNR.
Posted to the web by Krista Burns