by Jason Lamb
Thursday, June 3, 2010
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A federal judge is planning to hear arguments in the legal battle over predator control on Unimak Island next week in a dispute between the federal and state wildlife agencies.
It will take the judge at least until Monday to rule on whether he'll allow the state Department of Fish and Game to kill wolves in an effort to boost the caribou population on Unimak Island. It's the biggest island of the Aleutian chain -- and also part of a national wildlife refuge.
The federal government says it wants to take time to review the state's plans under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. But the state has argued in court documents that it can't wait for federal authorities to finish their investigation if it wants predator control to be effective.
Last week the state sued the federal government, asking for the right to kill the wolves. A judge decided Thursday to schedule a hearing over the controversy for next Monday.