Feds drop appeal of Bison Range agreement

Billings, Montana (AP) February 2011

Federal officials have abandoned legal efforts to revive an agreement that allowed the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to assume most management duties at the National Bison Range in western Montana.

Dean Rundle with the National Wildlife Refuge System said last week that negotiations with the tribe over a possible new agreement will continue. But he said no resolution is expected at least through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

The bison range at Moiese, established in 1908, is home to about 350 to 500 bison. Ten tribal employees lost their jobs last September when a federal judge ruled that a 2008 funding agreement with the tribes violated federal law.

The judge said wildlife officials failed to explain why they did not assess the possible environmental impacts of the agreement.




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