Grizzlies "Threatened" Again:

A federal district court judge overturned the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's decision to remove Grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone area from the endangered species list. From the LA Times:

In a strongly worded order, U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy said that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's conclusion that the bears would find adequate food and protected habitat in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho was not supported by the government's own science, and that protections put into place for the grizzlies were not enforceable.

The ruling largely supported conservationists' assertion that the predators faced devastating losses to one of their most important food sources as a result of climate change. It ordered the government to put the bears back under the protection of the Endangered Species Act until long-term strategies to assure their survival were in place.

"Much of the science [cited by the government] directly contradicts the service's conclusions," the judge wrote in his 46-page decision. "Where the agency's conclusions contradict the science, the conclusions are not reasonable, and the court need not defer to the agency's decision."

Prior to the Bush Administration's effort to delist this population, the Grizzlies had been listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

UPDATE: I've posted a copy of the order here.

SECOND UPDATE: Holly Doremus has more on Legal Planet:

It’s understandable that FWS and others who are deeply invested in conservation efforts want to celebrate their successes by delisting species which show population recoveries. But this decision should serve as a reminder that population increases by themselves don’t establish that delisting is appropriate. Delisting should happen only when the species’ future is secure, which means that the agency has taken a hard look at its future and verified that looming threats are adequately controlled. At that point, and only at that point, delisting can be cause for celebration rather than for litigation.