Appointment of Luthi as number two in USFWS, further stacks the deck against wildlife

Ex-Speaker of Wyoming’s House of Representatives Randall Luthi has been appointed deputy director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Luthi will be second in comment to director Dale Hall, who hamstrung wildlife protection efforts in the Southwest when he was its regional director.

Former speaker Luthi tapped as Fish and Wildlife deputy. By Noelle Straub. Jackson Hole Star-Tribune Washington bureau.

Wyoming Republican luminaries praised Luthi as embodying “Wyoming values.”

JH Underground had a much less positive analysis. “Hunt for wolves.

But let Luthi speak for himself-







  1. Jean Ossorio Avatar
    Jean Ossorio

    A friend of mine who is fairly knowledgeable about such things said upon hearing about this appointment: “I’m fairly certain that the Director of FWS is required by regulation to have wildlife science academic credentials. You would think the same requirement would apply to the Deputy Director.” Ralph, are you familiar with the regs?

  2. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I’m glad to see some attention brought to this “administrative” appointment of Randall Luthi, rancher, lawyer, and former speaker of the Wyoming House, to the Fish & Wildlife Service as Deputy Director. Luthi is dangerous for all wildlife, but especially predators and bison and elk.

    This appointment, in my considered judgment, is the result of a quid pro quo agreement between Govenor Dave Freudenthal and Secretary Dirk Kempthorne over wolves. I believe we’ll see a settlement in the Wyoming lawsuit, with Wyoming accepting the most recent FWS proposal, which leaves wolves under the ESA’s 10j provision in northwestern Wyoming, but only in Wyoming. I have discussed the recent proposal from the FWS in detail elsewhere on this website.

    What we’re going to see in return over the next two years for this quid pro quo is that Luthi will be the decision-maker in the FWS, not Director Dale Hall (not that Hall has been making any decisions benefiting wildlife anyway).

    As a result, what we’re going to see is an erosion of federal authority over wildlife on the threatened & endangered species list. Preble’s Jumping Mouse,which has become a major controversy in eastern Wyoming, comes to mind. We’re going to see immediate delisting of the grizzly bear. We’re going to see the wolf delisted in much of Wyoming under the terms of the recent proposed rule, which will leave wolves classified as predatory animals in 3/4 of Wyoming–something that is blatantly illegal according to the 1994 Final Rule under which wolves were reintroduced. Finally, we’re going to see a complete handover of authority for elk and bison management on the NATIONAL Elk Refuge to the State of Wyoming. Wyoming is determined to kill off the bison on the Refuge and turn the Refuge into a complete feedlot. Much of the Refuge’s work over the last 30 years has been to improve habitat on the Refuge, which covers only 29,000 acres, to lessen the risk of disease transmission by spreading elk out and also encouraging them to use winter range OFF the Refuge. Encouraging elk to move off the Refuge to winter range has aroused the ire of Wyoming’s livestock industry.

    So, the State of Wyoming wants to pile elk up on feedlines so that they can be vaccinated with Strain 19 as they are on the 22 State feedgrounds for brucellosis “control.” The vaccination program has been proven to be a scientific fraud, but since its purpose is to maintain the fiction of the so-called brucellosis problem, with Wyoming G&F manfully working to reduce the incidence of the disease through vaccination, when we know that feeding itself is the cause of brucellosis in elk, who cares that scientifically, it doesn’t work and that G&F knows it?

    It’s all to keep the livestock industry happy, with elk happily locked up on feedgrounds away from grass reserved for cattle.

    No doubt about it. Luthi is going to Washington to do Wyoming’s bidding. Conservationists must never let Luthi out of their sight. He is bad, bad news for wildlife.

  3. Pronghorn Avatar

    Did I read that there is a 30-day comment period on this appointment? (I’m certain I did.) Is there anything we can do with that? Does Nick Rahall have anything to say about this obvious anti-wildlife, anti-ESA, anti-public land appointment? Kempthorne is no better than Norton, and this is just one more slap in America’s face by the corrupt, immoral Bush Admin. I’m mad as hell. Ralph, Robert, what can we do? This one shouldn’t go down without a fight.

  4. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I do not believe that there is anything that can be done about this legally. Luthi has the countenance of Wyoming senior Senator Craig Thomas. There will be no Congressional challenge to Luthi, and I don’t think this is an appointment that needs Senate approval.

    Luthi is the fourth political hack from Wyoming sent to Washington to wreck havoc with wildlife and land. (The others were Tom Sansonetti, the infamous Paul Hoffman, and Johnnie Burton, Wyoming Republican politicoes all, and all have done considerable damage to the cause of wildlife and land conservation).

    I think that the best thing to do is to alert all wildlife conservationists who care about the ESA and wildlife on federal lands of the danger that Luthi poses and they shouldn’t let him out of their sight for an instant. Make his life in DC miserable. It’s exactly what he deserves.

  5. kt Avatar

    Looks like there definitely IS supposed to be a 30-day comment period on Luthi – but he is going to start work BEFORE, perhaps, it even begins.

    Does anyone know what happens with any comments submitted during the 30 day period to be announced in the Federal Register? Just shoved into the paper shredder, or something?

  6. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I could not get onto the website kt refers to. In any case, I am certain that the Dept. Chief position at the FWS is not subject to affirmation from the Senate. Luthi will assume the position regardless of what comments are sent in about it.

    The main thing to know is that he’s there and he’s there for the wrong reasons.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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