On Wednesday, May 10, the Idaho government sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue the federal government.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was required to respond to a petition by June 7, 2022, given by Idaho. They hadn’t responded by February 2023. Idaho then pressured them to a decision and was denied. The reasons for denial were not listed but Idaho did not see it fitting and filed both an appeal and an intent to sue letter. 

The petition was about removing the “lower-48” grizzly bear from the endangered list as it didn’t qualify as a “species” under the Endangered Species Act.

Grizzly bear. Photo credit: Sebastian Scheuer, Unsplash.
Grizzly bear. Photo credit: Sebastian Scheuer, Unsplash.

“Addressing this violation is not merely a matter of legal compliance, it is a matter of restoring the statutory priorities and purpose of the ESA,” stated the notice of intent. “Although well-intentioned, the 1975 listed entity of grizzly bears of the conterminous lower-48 states is not a ‘species’ under the ESA, and continuing to consider it to be one means that ESA resources are being focused on something that is not a ‘species’ at all. Protecting a non-species comes at the expense of protecting imperiled entities that are species.” 

The notice also brings attention to the grizzly bear population and that it’s being removed from the list in the interest of the people’s safety. Idaho doesn’t make this decision lightly, according to the press release.

Attorney General Raúl Labrador feels that the federal government is overstepping, and needs to give the states back some power.

“Politicians in Washington continue to use outdated endangered species protections to encroach on state sovereignty,” Labrador said in a press release. “In their desire to stop Idahoans from hunting or managing our own destiny, they pretend Idaho cannot handle the management of species. Our state intends to conserve our grizzly populations while balancing the need for limiting dangerous human-bear interactions. This issue, like most, belongs in the hands of the state, not the federal government.”