News

News

Conservationists Intervene on Behalf of Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction Efforts in New Mexico

Download the PDF

wolf 04 

June 6, 2016
Contacts:
Defenders of Wildlife: Catalina Tresky (202) 772-0253, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Center for Biological Diversity: Michael Robinson (575) 313-7017, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
WildEarth Guardians: John Horning (505) 795-5083, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
New Mexico Wilderness Alliance: Judy Calman (505) 843-8696, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Conservationists Intervene on Behalf of Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction Efforts in New Mexico
Releases of Adult Wolves and Puppies Being Blocked by State’s Game and Fish
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Defenders of Wildlife, the Center of Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) in federal court today, arguing that the state of New Mexico had no authority to block the release of Mexican gray wolf adults and pups into the wild.


On May 20, 2016, New Mexico sued the Service for releasing wolf pups, which are critical to Mexican gray wolf recovery. New Mexico’s lawsuit aims to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to recapture the released pups and return them to captivity and to ban future releases.


“All wolf releases from captivity are mission critical to the recovery of the most endangered gray wolf in the world,” said Eva Sargent, senior Southwest representative for Defenders of Wildlife. “New Mexico’s politically motivated lawsuit is a meritless, obstructionist attempt to usurp the Service’s authority in endangered species recovery, as provided for in the Endangered Species Act, our nation’s most important wildlife conservation law. We won’t stand for it. We need more wolves, less politics.”


“The two captive-born pups now growing up as part of the Sheepherders Baseball Park Pack in the Gila National Forest embody the hope to diversify the Mexican wolf gene pool and save their kind from extinction,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Removing these pups would be cruel and would contribute to an ongoing decline in wolf numbers and genetic diversity.”


“Obstructing the release of more lobos—one of the most endangered mammals in the United States—is a crime against nature,” said John Horning, executive director for WildEarth Guardians. “We’re intervening in this baseless lawsuit to stop New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s relentless assault against wolves and ensure that people will have the opportunity to experience wolves in our beautiful state.”


“America's first designated wilderness area deserves a balanced ecosystem with healthy populations of animals at every level of the food chain,” said Judy Calman, staff attorney for New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “Mexican wolves are a keystone species in the Gila, and the Fish and Wildlife Service's ability to release them is critical to their recovery and to the management of the wilderness area as a whole. Politics should not be allowed to override science here.”


Background
The Mexican gray wolf, or lobo, is the most endangered gray wolf in the world. With only 97 wolves in the wild in the United States at the last official count and fewer than 25 in Mexico, today the wolf population faces a drop in numbers and a genetic diversity crisis. The 2015 count dropped


considerably from the all-time high of 110 wolves in 2014. Releases of captive wolves are critically needed to increase the genetic diversity in the wild lobo population. Limited genetic diversity in the wild is leading to smaller litters and lower pup survival – a recipe for extinction.


Scientists, wolf breeding facilities and other conservationists urge the releases of many more wolves into the wild in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest to enhance genetic diversity. But in the face of opposition from the livestock industry and the states of Arizona and New Mexico, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) had only released four captive-born wolves during the entire Obama administration until this spring; three died and one was trapped and returned to captivity.


On February 17, 2015, under authority of the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA)and a new management rule promulgated on January 16, 2015, the Gila National Forest was opened up to releases of captive-born wolves. In an apparent effort to cooperate with the State of New Mexico, the Service applied for state permits to release captive Mexican gray wolves. In June 2015, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish refused to grant the Service a permit to release Mexican gray wolf pups and adults into the wild. The Service appealed the State’s decision to the New Mexico Fish and Game Commission, and the public overwhelmingly commented and testified in support of the Service at a public hearing last August. However, the commission refused to reverse the department’s decision.


The ESA requires the Service to “cooperate to the maximum extent practicable with the states” as it pursues species recovery programs. However, the law gives the Service the ability to release endangered species without state permits if states do not allow the Service to carry out its lawful responsibilities. So, in April, the Service released two cross-fostered wolf pups into the wild in New Mexico and plans to release more wolves in the wild in June.
On May 20, 2016, New Mexico sued the Service for releasing the wolf pups, which are critical to Mexican gray wolf recovery. New Mexico’s lawsuit aims to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to recapture the released pups and return them to captivity and to ban future releases.


While the conservation organizations involved in this suit do not think the Service is doing enough to support lobo recovery, they are engaging in support of the Service’s clear authority to release wolves and the clear conservation need to do so now and in the future.###


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. Get the latest Defenders news on Twitter @defendersnews.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
WildEarth Guardians works to protect and restore the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West.
The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit, grassroots organization dedicated to the protection, restoration and continued enjoyment of New Mexico’s wildlands and wilderness areas

6th International Mexican Wolf Stamp

2016 Limited Edition Mexican Wolf Conservation Stamp Released

Sixth annual commemorative stamp supports conservation and education efforts for the endangered Mexican gray wolf

Wolf Stamp 2016 Layout lowres

 

March 15, 2016, Albuquerque, N.M.—The 2016 Mexican Wolf Conservation stamp just released by the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance features artwork by Jacob Tarazoff.

With a passion for the wild and pursuit for adventure, Jacob is a 33 year old painter who works with a limited palette, primarily painting en plein aire (outside) and alla prima (wet into wet, one sitting).

“My current focus is on the idea of landscape, as a living memory. It is my aim to present an homage exalting the elemental natural processes that have shaped not only the earth, but also our own biological and sociocultural selves,” explained the artist.

The Mexican gray wolf is the most endangered wolf in the world, with a wild population of only 97 in the Southwest. All proceeds from sales of the wolf stamp directly benefit activities to support Mexican wolf conservation and education projects. This year’s stamp is the sixth in a limited-edition series.

“We are pleased to continue the program this year to support protection of our endangered Mexican wolf. We are grateful to the many talented artists and conservationists who submitted artwork for the stamp’s contest; they truly make this program possible,” said Tisha Broska, Associate Director of the Wilderness Alliance.

The 2016 Mexican Wolf Conservation Stamp is not a true postage stamp. The 4.5- by 5.5-inch full-color commemorative stamp is part of a series of framing-quality art prints offered to collectors.

The stamp is available for $20 at http://www.nmwild.org/shop/purchase-wolf-stamp. To purchase a wolf stamp, go to Shop, where you will find the entire collection of stamps.

###

The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is a non-profit 501(C)(3), grassroots, environmental organization dedicated to the protection, restoration, and continued enjoyment of New Mexico’s wildlands and Wilderness areas. The primary goal of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is to ensure the protection and restoration of all remaining wild lands in New Mexico through administrative designations, federal Wilderness designation, and on-going advocacy.

Santa Fe National Forest Public Meetings - April and May 2016

SantaFe National Forest Plan Revision

We Need YOUR Input!

Learn about and provide input to the required Forest Plan Revision process to identify lands suitable or not suitable for Wilderness

Meeting Objectives:
•    Learn about how Wilderness lands are managed
•    Learn about the process to be used to identify lands as suitable or not suitable for inclusion as Wilderness
•    Provide input on the criteria used in each step of the process

Meeting Schedule:
•    4/25/16: 6-8 pm, Rio Rancho, NM - UNM West, 2600 College Ave NE, Room 1225
•    4/26/16: 6-8 pm, El Rancho, NM - El Rancho Community Center, 394 County Road 84
•    4/28/16: 9 am-12 pm, Technical Meeting, Santa Fe, NM - Santa Fe Community College, 6401 Richards Ave., Jemez Rooms
•    5/2/16: 6-8 pm, Las Vegas, NM - Highlands University, 1031 11th Street, Victoria D. de Sanchez Teacher Education Center (STEC) Classrooms 203 and 204
•    5/3/16: 6-8 pm, Santa Fe, NM - Santa Fe Community College, 6401 Richards Ave., Jemez Rooms

Questions?
505-438-5442;   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Materials will be available in advance on our website,  www.fs.usda.gov/goto/santafeforestplan

 

CONSERVATION GROUPS ASK STATE SUPREME COURT: INVALIDATE EVISCERATION OF OIL & GAS PIT RULE

CONTACTS:

Bruce Baizel, Executive Director, Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project, (970) 799-3552

Judy Calman, Staff Attorney, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, (505) 843-8696

Eric Jantz, Staff Attorney, New Mexico Environmental Law Center (505) 750-3027

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Friday, March 25, 2016

WATER GROUPS ASK STATE SUPREME COURT:

INVALIDATE EVISCERATION OF OIL & GAS PIT RULE

“...the Oil Conservation Commission forgot who they worked for. It isn’t the oil and gas industry.”

Bruce Baizel, Executive Director, Earthworks’ OGAP

SANTA FE, NM — Yesterday, groups working to protect New Mexico’s water resources and wildlife asked the state Supreme Court to review the Martinez Administration’s “Pit Rule”. The Rule governs the storage and disposal of wastes at oil and gas drilling pits in New Mexico.

The petition for a writ of certiorari was filed by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) on behalf of Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. The public interest groups have been working on the issue since before the Pit Rule was first adopted in 2008, after a lengthy public process. The petition asks the state’s highest court to review a decision handed down by the state Court of Appeals in February upholding the amended Pit Rule.

In 2013, the Martinez-appointed Oil Conservation Commission, despite widespread public opposition, eliminated nearly every substantive provision on the Pit Rule at the behest of the oil and gas industry. See Pit Rule Fact Sheet.

In their petition, the groups ask for the Supreme Court to set aside the 2013 amendments that eviscerated the 2008 Pit Rule, based on the legal arguments that:

  • The Commission did not have authority to weaken the Pit Rule for purely economic reasons benefiting the oil and gas industry.
  • The Commission failed to explain the reasons for its abrupt change of policy in 2013, despite the Commissioners hearing nearly identical testimony as presented to the Commissioners who adopted the 2008 Pit Rule.
  • The Oil Conservation Commission violated the Separation of Powers Doctrine when it amended the Pit Rule while it was under appeal in state district court.

“Pits” store liquid and solid wastes created by drilling for oil and gas; they are located at or near the oil or gas wells. As written in 2008, the New Mexico Pit Rule was designed to protect soil and groundwater from toxic contaminants including arsenic, benzene, chromium and lead (see Pit Pollution: A Backgrounder on the Issues, with a New Mexico Case Study by the Earthworks for a list of contaminants commonly found in pits). As amended in 2013, the Pit Rule does little to protect our state’s water, public health or wildlife.

“The state of New Mexico is legally and by definition bound to serve all New Mexicans,” said Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project Director Bruce Baizel. He continued, “In eviscerating the Pit Rule, the Oil Conservation Commission forgot who they worked for. It isn’t the oil and gas industry.”

"All New Mexicans, including the corporate entities that benefit from our state's natural resources, share a responsibility to be good citizens for our state's water and public lands," says Judy Calman, Staff Attorney at the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. "That's why we're asking the Supreme Court to revert to the 2008 Pit Rule, which was protective of water, people and wildlife.” 

“There are serious legal flaws in the decision handed down by the state Court of Appeals when it upheld the Rule,” says Eric Jantz, Staff Attorney with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. “The Supreme Court now has an excellent opportunity to send a strong message that politics don’t belong in rulemakings, and to affirm that our state’s regulatory decision-makers do not have the authority to change rules solely for the economic benefit of an industry to the detriment of other New Mexicans.”

The Supreme Court will notify the petitioners if it will review the case. See NMELC case page.

INTERVIEWS ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

For more than 25 years Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project has been protecting communities and the environment from the negative impacts of resource extraction.

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center is a not-for-profit public-interest law firm working to protect the communities and environment of New Mexico. It was founded in 1987, and is based in Santa Fe, NM.

The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization dedicated to the protection, restoration, and continued enjoyment of New Mexico's wild lands and wilderness areas.

###

Please reply to this email with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line if you wish to be removed from this list.

Subcategories

Membership

Search