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Big Win in Court for Bull Trout

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  November 20, 1996
  Conservation Groups Win Big Victory Over Government In Bull Trout Suit
  November 13, 1996
  MISSOULA- Two Montana-based conservation groups announced today that
  federal district court Judge Robert Jones has decided in their favor in
  their suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service challenging the
  Service's 1994 "warranted but precluded" finding which denied bull trout
  legal protection under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The
  federal district court in Oregon found that migratory bull trout are
  imperiled throughout their range, have been severely fragmented, and are
  likely to be at extreme risk of extinction.
  In his ruling, the Portland-based Judge wrote that " Several aspects of the
  record make FWS's reliance on these factors, without further explanation,
  so questionable and internally inconsistent as to render that reliance
  arbitrary and capricious."
  Furthermore, the judge wrote, "In its 1994 FINDING, FWS has not given this
  court any explanation of why it denied all of plaintiffs' requests for
  emergency listings of bull trout. For that reason alone, this court must
  find that decision arbitrary and capricious."  The court also found that
  the 1995 FINDING is subject to the same deficiencies as the 1994 FINDING.
  The Judge also wrote that, "...if FWS concludes that it should have ranked
  the bull trout as facing a "high" magnitude of threat, listing of the bull
  trout should proceed in accordance with the Act; as such, the 1995 FINDING
  will be without legal effect because the Act never would have required it."
  "It's a really positive ruling," said Jack Tuholske, the attorney who
  represents Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Friends of the Wild Swan.
  "It's the first step towards restoring the aquatic ecosystems of the
  "The bull trout have been harmed by the delay. Since we filed our original
  petition, several key bull trout populations are in collapse," said Mike
  Bader, executive director of Alliance for the Wild Rockies. "The agency
  must now follow the law and begin recovery efforts to save the bull trout
  from extinction."
  "We hope that this ruling sends a resounding message to the Fish and
  Wildlife Service and the Clinton Administration: stop making excuses and
  start making progress," said Steve Kelly of Friends of the Wild Swan. "They
  have cheated the bull trout out of legal protection for four years; four
  years the bull trout didn't have."
  The groups originally filed a petition requesting the Service to formally
  list the bull trout as endangered pursuant to the ESA in 1992. They filed
  suit following the 1994 ruling that bull trout were warranted for listing,
  but precluded by other listing priorities.
  Contact Info
  e-mail:  awr@igc.apc.org
  WWW:  http://www.wildrockies.org
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