Western Watersheds, an Idaho-based nonprofit, is being sued by more than a dozen ranchers and Wyoming landowners for alleged trespassing.
This morning's Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune is reporting that Jonathan Ratner, the Wyoming state director of Western Watersheld, has also been named as a party to the suit, with members of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association saying Ratner and his group have reportedly come onto private land to collect water samples, in spite of no trespassing signs.
"I won't say it's absolutely impossible," Ratner told the Star-Tribune. "But I am extremely careful on those fronts, and I cannot believe that. Any other situations, I have no information to comment on at the moment."
The Wyoming landowners say two of the water samples delivered to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality indicate coordinates that prove Ratner and Western Watersheds staff had to have beeen on private property.
But the executive director of Western Watersheld said the suit was an attempt to prevent his group from doing its work on public lands in the interest of wildlife habitat.
"We are only trying to force the agencies to implement federal laws that are already on the books to protect the environment but are not being enforced properly," Travis Bruner told the Star-Tribune.