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Gray wolf delisting plan is on hold

January 22, 2009 |  1:49 pm

A wolf, seen in this undated photo, walks through the snow in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

The Obama administration has suspended a plan by the Interior Department to remove some gray wolf populations from protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The regulation was to take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. However, the rule hadn't been published as of Wednesday, so it now falls under the memo issued Tuesday by Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, which stated that that no proposed or final regulations should be sent to the Federal Register for publication until they have been reviewed and approved by new agency heads appointed by the president.

"They [the wolf delisting rules] will not go forward. There will be a review of the proposed rules, which will be conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service," said Hugh Vickery, an Interior Department  spokesman. "We have no estimate at this time of how long that review will take, or when a final decision will be made."

Last week, then-Deputy Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett said that wolf populations in Idaho, Montana, Utah, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin would be removed from management by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and instead be handled by state and tribal wildlife agencies, as populations in these states had recovered.  Scarlett is no longer with the Interior Department.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A wolf, seen in this undated photo, walks through the snow in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Credit: Associated Press

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