Saturday, June 27, 2015

Idaho Group Sues Predator-control Agency for Information

June 22, 2015  • 

BOISE (AP) | An Idaho conservation group has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to force a federal agency to turn over information about its methods and activities in killing wildlife in the state.
The Western Watersheds Project filed the 18-page lawsuit Monday against the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services.

The lawsuit contends the federal agency is violating the Freedom of Information Act by not supplying information the group asked for in five formal requests in February and March. "We're seeking more detailed information on how they operate," said Talasi Brooks, an attorney at Advocates for the West representing the Idaho group. "They're not very forthcoming on that."

In a separate lawsuit filed in February, the Western Watersheds Project and four other groups sued Wildlife Services contending federal and Idaho officials are violating environmental laws by killing wolves, coyotes and other wildlife to protect livestock and crops. The lawsuit filed Monday is distinct from the one filed in February, Brooks said.

The U.S. Department of Justice didn't return a call from The Associated Press on Monday.
Among the information sought in the most recent lawsuit involves Wildlife Services' Pocatello Supply Depot. The Western Watersheds Project wants to find out if animal poison is being produced there or if devices to kill predators are simply being assembled there, Brooks said. "I am very curious about the Pocatello Supply Depot," Brooks said. "I want to know what they do, what they're making there. Whether it's at cost, or whether it's a taxpayer-subsidy operation."

Other information sought in the lawsuit incudes permits that Wildlife Services operates under in Idaho and equipment Wildlife Services owns or leases for animal damage control in the state.

The lawsuit also seeks information about specific wildlife management activities and details concerning cooperative agreements Wildlife Services has with other entities in the state.
The Western Watersheds Project plans to make the information public, Brooks said.