From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 6, Number 46 - February 8, 2007
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Luthi nominated second-in-command at FWS

by Cat Urbigkit

Last Friday, U.S. Senator Craig Thomas praised President Bush’s intention to appoint Randall Luthi to be Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Thomas sought Luthi’s appointment with the White House.

As Deputy Director, Luthi will be responsible for ensuring the enhancement of fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

“We need good people in important places who understand clearly the careful balance between our special wildlife and natural resources and the people who live and work around them,” U.S. Senator Craig Thomas said. “Randall is just that person. He has a passion for the outdoors – the West in particular – and will be a significant leader in the Department of the Interior.”

Luthi, an attorney from Freedom, is the former Speaker of the Wyoming House of Representatives and currently a partner in the law firm Luthi & Voyles, LLC in Thayne. 

Luthi is a University of Wyoming law school graduate, who later worked as a legislative aide for Senator Alan Simpson in Washington, DC and as a legal counsel in the Department of Interior. He also worked as a member of the federal government’s legal team on the Exxon Valdez oil spill and finished his DC career at the General Counsel’s office at NOAA, specializing in natural resource issues. Luthi returned to Wyoming to run his family’s ranch after the death of his father.

Luthi said he plans to work closely on issues surrounding the Endangered Species Act and its implementation with careful consideration of the species, the affected states, landowners and sportsmen.

A 30-day public comment period, beginning with the publication of a notice in the Federal Register on the proposal to appoint, will precede official appointment. Luthi plans to begin serving as Deputy Director on Feb. 20.

Luthi has been critical of the ESA in the past, calling it a “profound failure” and saying the result of the act is the production of “a generation of litigation, with no end in sight.”

At a U.S. Senate subcommittee meeting on ESA reform in 2004, Luthi presented color photographs of horses, cattle and dogs that had been killed by protected predators on the Diamond G Ranch near Dubois. Luthi said the photos show the reality of the federal wolf experiment on Wyoming.

Luthi said, “The (ESA) establishes impossible time frames, an extremely low threshold for petitions and lacks the requirements of credible science.”

Luthi called the federal rejection of Wyoming’s wolf management plan “a case of federal arrogance, not a supremacy question. … This is a states’ rights issue, it is our right to classify the wolf for what it is, a predator. Particularly since even with the predator and trophy classification, our plan provides for adequate protection of the gray wolf.”

At a 2003 Wyoming Legislative committee meeting on proposed wolf legislation, Luthi urged legislators to remain firm in its dealings with federal officials on the wolf issue.

Local governments need to help decide where a species like wolves are allowed to live, Luthi said.

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