U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy didn't hand down a ruling today on the fate of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies, but did indicate that he would issue a decision "as quickly as possible."
Molloy heard arguments this morning in a Missoula, Mont., courtroom from U.S. government attorneys facing off with conservation groups over the recent actions that took wolves off the endangered species list. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies and other groups accused Congress of attaching a rider to a government spending bill, which made an exception for gray wolves in Idaho and Montana, knocking wolves off the ESA. but government attorney Andrea Gelatt said Congress had followed the law by "carving a very narrow hole" to allow an amendment to the ESA.
Molloy came under fire by wolf opponents when he reinstated wolf protection in 2010. But the congressional change to the ESA trumped his ruling.