Guest Editorial: Solution to Mexican wolf issue is a new appellate court

Arizona is located in the notoriously large and unwieldy U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Along with its crushing case backlog, the San Francisco-based court has a reputation for decisions that are decidedly outside of the legal mainstream, leading it to be overturned by the Supreme Court more than any other federal circuit.

And they are nothing but a bunch of little commie bitches. — jtl, 419

By U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake via The Copper Era

Cattle ranching is an essential part of our cultural heritage in Arizona, and it continues to play an important role in our state economy. Unfortunately, onerous regulations are making it harder for ranchers to stay in business.

I continue to hear from land users about the federal government’s general lack of coordination and cooperation with local stakeholders. For ranchers, a top concern is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s mishandling of the Mexican gray wolf recovery effort.

Species management is always a delicate balancing act, and it requires extensive consultation with the stakeholders that are most affected by changes to local ecosystems.

To address the declining numbers of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico, the wolf was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1976. The Fish and Wildlife Service went on to finalize the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan to return viable populations back to the wolf’s historic range.

This plan set a recovery goal of 100 wolves, a target that was exceeded in 2014. However, instead of celebrating the recovery plan’s success by delisting the wolf and returning management to the states, the federal government decided to move the goal posts.

It continues to manage the Mexican gray wolf under onerous Endangered Species Act requirements, harming ranchers and other rural Arizona stakeholders in the process.

This is a case study in what’s wrong with the Endangered Species Act. I agree that we should ensure viable species populations, but the law was never intended for species to be listed in perpetuity.

Since the Endangered Species Act was signed into law, more than 2,000 species have been listed as threatened or endangered. Yet in more than 40 years, less than one percent of these species have ever been removed from the list.

This isn’t because of the law’s failure to recover species; rather, it’s due to a bureaucratic reluctance to return species management to the states.

To establish a realistic path forward to delist the Mexican gray wolf that respects Arizona property owners, I introduced the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan Act. This legislation will require the Fish and Wildlife Service to work with state and local stakeholders in drafting an updated recovery plan that doesn’t adversely impact livestock, wild game or recreation.

The bill would reflect the reality that 90 percent of the wolf’s historic range is in Mexico, meaning that states like Arizona won’t be forced to shoulder an unfair burden of the recovery effort.

And since this legislation deals with wolves, I figured it should have some teeth.

Under the bill, achieving the recovery goal would trigger an automatic delisting, returning management of Mexican gray wolves to the states. If the Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t comply with the updated recovery plan, state wildlife agencies would be empowered to assume management of wolf populations in accordance with the Endangered Species Act.

Holding the Fish and Wildlife Service accountable is critically important for rural Arizona, especially at a time when the federal government is challenging the fundamental principle of federalism with respect to species management throughout the West.

While most ranchers may not think of the Tenth Amendment or appellate courts when they spot a wolf on the edge of their family’s property, it turns out that the structure of our federal judiciary could not be more important for protecting rural Arizona’s way of life.

Arizona is located in the notoriously large and unwieldy U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Along with its crushing case backlog, the San Francisco-based court has a reputation for decisions that are decidedly outside of the legal mainstream, leading it to be overturned by the Supreme Court more than any other federal circuit.

This denies rural Arizonans the swift access to justice promised by the Constitution and removes an important judicial check on federal land management agencies when they exceed their legal authority. To provide Arizona with the same legal recourse enjoyed by other states in the event of executive overreach, such as the Fish and Wildlife Service’s unlawful release of captive-born wolves in New Mexico, I introduced legislation to break up the Ninth Circuit.

The Judicial Administration and Improvement Act will create a new Twelfth Circuit by moving Arizona, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Washington out of the Ninth Circuit. Doing so would establish stronger local, regional and cultural ties, while also ensuring a more timely and accurate judicial process for both circuits.

Rural Arizonans have put up with overreaching executive agencies and a complicit judiciary for long enough. These two bills will ease bureaucratic burdens and restore faith in our judicial system.

Flake is the junior senator for Arizona.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is  in a position to assist the buyer in purchasing ranches like these anywhere in the Western United States and Northern Mexico. Pre – purchase services include help with due diligence, estimates of carrying capacity and potential for improvement, cash flow projections, etc. Post purchase services include everything from part time consulting to complete turn-key management.

Contact us at or through our web site at

Dripping Springs
Mule Creek, Grant County, New Mexico

The Dripping Springs Ranch is a highly improved working cattle ranch in a very desirable part of southwest New Mexico. Access to the Ranch from State Route 78 is excellent, and it is an easy drive to either Silver City, N. or Safford, Az. 232 deeded acres, 13,000 USFS acres, 150 AU. $2,500,000

Walking L Ranch
Wickenburg, Yavapai County

The Walking L Ranch’s 52+ square miles adjoin Wickenburg from the Hassayamapa River into the Wickenburg Mountains. The ranch originally consisted of the 10X Ranch on the south end and the Rincon Ranch on the north end.  The old Rincon Dude Ranch was added to the ranch’s Headquarters by the current owner. The ranch’s land tenure consists of deeded land, State and BLM Grazing Leases.  Topography is rolling to steep with elevation’s ranging from 2,100’ along the river to over 2,700’ on San Domingo Peak.  The ranch borders US 60 on the south side of Wickenburg.  The ranch’s deeded land is in seven non-contiguous parcels throughout the ranch.  The headquarters consists of 110.88 deeded acres on Rincon Road and the Hassayampa River with approximately 30 acres irrigated.  Another headquarters for the 10X is on the state lease. $5,000,000

Dos S Inholding
Fountain Hills, Maricopa County

The Dos S is a 22.78 acre private inholding surrounded by Tonto National Forest on Sycamore Creek.  It is located just off the Beeline Highway behind a locked gate 20 miles from the Shea Boulevard & Highway 87 intersection at Fountain Hills.  Payson is 40 miles to the north. $1,025,100


About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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