TOPEKA – (November 7, 2016) – Kansas and 17 other states filed a legal brief late last week arguing the federal government must abide by state wildlife permitting requirements in enforcing the Endangered Species Act, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.
The brief, filed Friday in support of the State of New Mexico in a case before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, urges the court to leave in place a lower court ruling that the U.S. Department of the Interior must comply with New Mexico’s state permitting requirements before carrying out a planned experimental release of Mexican wolves.
“As with other federal laws and regulations regarding wildlife management, and particularly in the implementation of the ESA, Congress has consistently stated that the Department of the Interior should, to the maximum extent practicable, honor the States’ authority to manage and regulate in this area traditionally occupied by the States,” the brief says. “Compelling the (Fish and Wildlife) Service to comply with state permit requirements governing wildlife releases, except in the unusual cases where that authority directly impedes the Secretary’s ability to comply with the ESA, preserves States’ authority in this area.”
Schmidt said that because Kansas is in the 10th Circuit, rulings in this case will set a binding precedent, which could affect the management plans of other species, including some in Kansas.
The case is New Mexico Department of Game and Fish v. U.S. Department of the Interior et al., No. 16-2189. A copy of the brief is available at http://bit.ly/2fvTBdG.