Mouse Closer to Jumping Free Around Wyoming
Proposed rule would delist Preble's jumping mouse in Wyoming
Today, Wyoming's congressional delegation praised the work of farmers and ranchers around the state for their diligent effort to preserve habitat for the Preble's meadow jumping mouse, which could ultimately lead to the removal of the mouse from the Endangered Species list in Wyoming, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
"The USFWS has cried wolf on delisting the mouse for many years but today I am hopeful it will pan out and Wyoming ranchers and farmers will no longer be held hostage by a mouse. I'm extremely disappointed the Fish and Wildlife Service did not follow the science that suggests the Preble's jumping mouse is not a distinct species," said U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. "This announcement is a step forward but I will continue working for ESA reform to ensure landowners, ranchers, sportsmen and local communities are not unfairly burdened by out of date legislation that can deadlock an entire area with few avenues for recourse."
"Wyoming agriculture will benefit from not having to tiptoe around the mouse. The Endangered Species Act clearly needs reform. I support having a recovery plan in place at the time a species is listed. We need peer-reviewed science in any listing decisions," said U.S. Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo.
"While this process continues to highlight the unyielding bureaucracy of the Endangered Species Act, it is refreshing to see the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finally land on the same common sense finding that landowners in our state have known since 1998 when this critter was first listed - the Preble's meadow jumping mouse is not endangered in Wyoming.
This announcement is surely a welcome one, but we must keep up the pressure until the Preble's mouse is officially removed from the ESA once and for all," said U.S. Representative Barbara Cubin, R-Wyo.
The USFWS announced today the Preble's jumping mouse is its own distinct species and should remain on the Endangered Species list in Colorado but not Wyoming. Wyoming has a good climate for future viability and growth for the animal. The mouse has also been protected through coordinated work between farmers, ranchers and the USFWS.
The delegation is disappointed the mouse is considered a specific species, different from the Bear Lodge mouse which isn't endangered, even after scientific studies showed the two mice are indeed the same species.
The proposed rule will be published in the federal register next week and the public will have 75 days to comment. A public open house for comments will be held on Dec. 12 at the First State Bank Conference Center in Wheatland. An information open house will be held from 4-5 p.m., followed by a public hearing from 6-8 p.m. The delegation encourages all citizens to attend to voice their opinion about the USFWS proposed rule.
The final rule is expected to be released in late June of 2008. The Preble's mouse has been listed on the Endangered Species list since May 13, 1998. In 2001 farmers and ranchers were able to continue to operate without being prosecuted for the accidental killing of the mouse. In 2003 areas in Albany, Converse, Laramie and Platte counties were designated as critical habitat for the mouse. In 2004 the USFWS began the review process to remove the mouse from federal protection.