For Immediate Release:
January 7, 2003
Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957 West Yellowstone, MT 59758
Phone (406) 646-0070 Fax (406) 646-0071
Helena, Montana - Senior U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell heard arguments today in a case brought against the Montana Department of Livestock, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Interior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service by a trio of Environmental groups. Judge Lovell did not issue a decision in the case.
Cold Mountain, Cold Rivers (CMCR), the Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC), and the Ecology Center Incorporated (TECI) filed suit in May 2001 alleging that the state and federal agencies' Yellowstone bison management operations are illegally impacting threatened bald eagles, sensitive trumpeter swans, and their habitats. The lawsuit implicates the government's on-going multimillion-dollar plan to haze, capture, and slaughter wild bison on public lands.
TECI spokesperson Jim Coefield said, "We hope that Judge Lovell will make a quick decision and give the bald eagles the relief we are asking for."
The groups are seeking relief from ongoing violations of the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, the National Forest Management Act, and the Special Use Permit authorizing bison capture operations on the Gallatin National Forest.
Among the issues raised by the groups is the Department of Livestock's consistent use of helicopters to haze bison in areas where helicopters are specifically prohibited.
The groups are represented by the Helena law firm Reynolds, Motl, and Sherwood. According to their attorney, Brenda Lindlief Hall, "When the sun sets on all of the issues, what remains is that no analysis of helicopters on wildlife has ever been done. This failure is a clear violation of the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act."
"Hazing is taking a tremendous toll on bison, on threatened bald eagles, and on native wildlife in the Yellowstone ecosystem," said CMCR's Darrell Geist, "It needs to stop."
"The judge expressed concern that more bison may be killed without the Department of Livestock's capture facility," said Mike Mease of the Buffalo Field Campaign. "The bottom line is they are going to try to kill a thousand buffalo with or without their trap."
The Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) is the only group working in the field, everyday, to stop the slaughter of Yellowstone's wild buffalo. Volunteers defend the buffalo on their traditional winter habitat and advocate for their protection. Our daily patrols stand with the buffalo on the ground they choose to be on and document every move made against them.
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