NRDC v. R. Zinke, et al. (International Wildlife Conservation Council)
In November 2017, the Trump administration created the deceitfully named International Wildlife Conservation Council (IWCC) to advise U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on “the benefits international hunting has on foreign wildlife and habitat conservation.” In other words, the council’s purpose is to make it easier for U.S. trophy hunters to kill and import some of the most-loved and imperiled species on earth, including elephants, lions, and giraffes.
Many conservation groups, including NRDC, urged the administration to abandon this dangerous proposal or, at the very least, include members from the conservation community. Instead, the Interior Department went ahead with this flawed idea and stacked the IWCC with NRA representatives and celebrity trophy hunters.
On August 1, 2018, NRDC and our partners sued the Interior Department under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) for creating the IWCC. FACA sets out requirements for advisory councils, including that they be “objective and accessible to the public,” “in the public interest,” “fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented,” and free of influence from special interests. The IWCC, however, has flouted each and every one of these conditions—working to keep its operations secret, assuming a biased and one-sided purpose, and granting committee membership only to those who support trophy hunting and stand to gain from the council.
Conservation and animal protection groups sued the Trump administration today for illegally establishing the “International Wildlife Conservation Council,” an advisory panel stacked with people who have personal or financial interests in killing or importing rare or endangered animals from overseas.