In a sweeping victory for the national wildlife refuge system, the federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that national wildlife refuges will continue to be managed on behalf of all Americans.
The State of Wyoming sued the Fish and Wildlife Service demanding authority to manage wildlife within the National Elk Reserve near Jackson, Wyoming. This reserve is part of the national wildlife refuge system. This case was watched closely by other states because of similar jurisdictional disputes in various states. Earthjustice intervened on behalf of the US Fish and Wildlife Service to defend the national wildlife refuge system.
The State of Wyoming claimed it had the right to vaccinate elk against brucellosis (a disease carried by cattle and elk) on the refuge because the refuge is located in Wyoming. Wildlife biologists within the Fish and Wildlife Service resisted because the vaccinations haven’t been proven effective or even safe in elk.
“The politicians in Wyoming tried to extend their reach into the refuge system to benefit some special interests.” The court made clear this isn’t allowed,” said Earthjustice attorney Jim Angell.