Members of Wyoming's Congressional Delegation and the state's governor are criticizing a U.S. District Court judge's decision to order federal protections restored for grizzly bears in the Northern Rocky Mountains on Monday, a move that blocks the first grizzly hunts planned in the Lower 48 states in almost three decades.

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) released the following statement on the decision to return the Yellowstone grizzly bear to the endangered species list.

“Wildlife experts and federal officials have agreed that the grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region have been fully recovered for years. It is disappointing that the state of Wyoming and U.S. Fish and Wildlife services have once again seen their well-researched attempts to delist a recovered species struck down by a federal judge. As the grizzly bear population has increased in Wyoming, so has the danger to livestock, property and humans. That is why it was so important that management of the species be in the hands of the state. I hope that a quick resolution to keep the Yellowstone grizzly bears delisted can be implemented.”

U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said in a statement the judge's decision is wrong and unsupported by the facts.

 “Yet again, the courts are replacing science-based recovery measures with personal political preference. The grizzly is recovered in Wyoming. Period. Even the Obama administration determined that the grizzly should be delisted. The state has a strong, science-based plan in place for the management of the bear. That plan should have a chance to demonstrate its success."

“This is a prime example why Congress should modernize the Endangered Species Act. We should elevate the role of states and local experts who are on the ground working with the grizzly – and other endangered species – on a daily basis," Barrasso continued. "They should have the opportunity to put the strong management principles they developed in place.”

The Associated Press reports Wyoming Governor Matt Mead also said the ruling provided evidence of flaws in the Endangered Species Act and the need for Congress to make changes. Mead says the state has spent some $50 million on grizzly bear recovery and management, and that Grizzly bear recovery should be viewed as a conservation success story.

More From Laramie Live