Federal wildlife and agricultural agencies are denying claims by environmental groups that a sheep research station on the Idaho-Montana border is harming the region's grizzly bear population.
Western Watersheds Project and four other anti-agriculture groups sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and other federal agencies in May, contending the biological opinion for the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in the Centennial Mountain Range failed to account for several grizzly bear deaths and that the region's grizzly bear population is being harmed.
On Tuesday, attorneys for the USFWS filed their response to the lawsuit in Boise's U.S. District Court, denying all of the claims and saying the biological opinion speaks for itself.
The experiment station was established in 1918 for breeding and grazing research. The environmental groups say the station is operating under a biological opinion that states no known grizzly bear deaths have occurred in the recent past near the station, but they found evidence through a Freedom of Information Act request that shows there have been grizzly deaths in the region over the past eight years.
The environmental groups are asking the judge to order a new biological opinion that considers all the grizzly bear deaths in the area.
Reprinted in part from The Idaho Statesman