CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A federal judge in Washington D.C. has merged two lawsuits filed by coalitions of environmental groups challenging the federal government's recent transfer of wolf management authority to the state of Wyoming. Judge Amy Berman Jackson consolidated the lawsuits Friday. The lead group in one suit is the Defenders of Wildlife while the lead in the other is Defenders of Wildlife.

A third similar lawsuit filed by another coalition is pending in federal court in Denver. All the groups generally argue Wyoming's management plan is insufficient to protect wolves. The federal government reintroduced wolves in Yellowstone National Park in the mid-1990s. Wyoming allows sport hunting for wolves outside Yellowstone and gives wolves no protection in the rest of the state. Gov. Matt Mead has said he's confident in the state plan.