By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS | Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A federal judge in Tacoma has rejected plans to increase the killing of wolves in Washington state by a federal agency.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan last week ruled that the agency, Wildlife Services, should have prepared a more in-depth environmental analysis of the proposed killing of wolves.

Bryan issued a summary judgment last Thursday in favor of conservation groups that sued the agency. He concluded that an environmental assessment prepared by the agency was flawed.

Wolves were hunted to extinction in Washington at the turn of the last century. But they started migrating into Washington from neighboring areas in the early 2000s and there are an estimated 16 wolf packs in the state, all in Eastern Washington. There have been conflicts between wolves and ranchers.