FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, JULY 31, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
UNITED STATES AND WYOMING SETTLE SUIT ON ELK VACCINATIONS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Departments of Justice and Interior today announced a settlement with the state of Wyoming that resolves the outstanding litigation involving the brucellosis vaccination of elk on the National Elk Refuge, located near Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Brucellosis is a bacterial borne pathogen which infects the reproductive organs and lymphatic systems of ungulates and has a potential for transmission to domestic cattle.
According to the settlement, Wyoming will submit a proposal to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) outlining its plan to implement a brucellosis vaccination program for elk on the National Elk Refuge. The Service will prepare an environmental assessment evaluating whether there are any potential significant environmental effects with the state's proposal.
"In reaching this agreement with Wyoming, the federal government has struck a balance between preserving the National Elk Refuge for all species and helping the state control the spread of brucellosis to its cattle," said Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "This outcome exemplifies the Department's preparedness to work hand-in-hand with states to ensure cooperation on areas of vital interests to both the United States and local communities."
The settlement was approved by the U.S. District Court of Wyoming on July 23, 2002. The FWS's consideration of Wyoming's proposal will be subjected to a 30-day public comment period.