Court removes obstacle to releasing wolves in New Mexico

Mexican Gray Wolf
FILE - In this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a Mexican gray wolf leaves cover at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, Socorro County, N.M. Suspicion over federal plans to restore Mexican gray wolves has spread to Colorado and Utah, where ranchers and elected officials are fiercely resisting any attempt to import the predators. (Jim Clark/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP, File)

DENVER (AP) — A court has removed one obstacle to the federal government’s plan to release more endangered wolves in New Mexico over the state’s objections, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether or when additional releases would occur.

A Denver-based federal appeals court on Tuesday lifted a preliminary injunction that prevented the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from releasing more Mexican gray wolves after New Mexico refused to agree to the plan.

State and federal officials had no immediate comment Tuesday.

New Mexico could ask the appeals court to reconsider or ask the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Even with the injunction lifted, it wasn’t immediately known whether wolf releases would continue under President Donald Trump, who has slowed or reversed other environmental initiatives.