SPOKANE (AP) — Five environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the federal government challenging its authority to kill endangered wolves in Washington state.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday against the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services program.
The lawsuit contends federal law requires USDA to prepare a full environmental impact statement before it can hunt and kill wolves in Washington.
The agency recently completed a less-detailed environmental assessment. The environmental groups say that document fails to provide data to support several of its core assertions.
Wolves were hunted to extinction in Washington in the early 1900s. The species began to return to the state from neighboring Idaho and British Columbia in the early 2000s, and the wolf population has grown to 13 confirmed packs. There have been conflicts between wolves and livestock.