Oregon Wild expressed disappointment today in response to Oregon’s Court of Appeals dismissing a legal case that challenges the process Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) used to reach the controversial decision to remove endangered species protections from Oregon’s wolves. The decision, delivered by an Appellate Commissioner, cited the enactment of HB 4040 as justification for rendering judicial review of ODFW’s decision moot.
|HB 4040 handout distributed by Rep. Greg Barreto's office 2/10/16|
“On World Wildlife Day, Oregon’s Legislature stripped endangered species protections from gray wolves,” said Steve Pedery, Conservation Director for Oregon Wild. “Now on Earth Day, Oregon continues its attack on wildlife and the public’s right to hold the state accountable to its own environmental laws.”
HB 4040, passed by the Oregon Legislature during the 2016 short session, ratified the ODFW vote to remove gray wolves from Oregon’s endangered species list. Conservation groups expressed concern that the decision was made absent an independent scientific review, as required by Oregon law. ODFW dismissed feedback from over two dozen scientists critical of removing protections.
The public was told repeatedly by state legislators and lobbyists for the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association that HB 4040 did not preclude judicial review and that conservation groups would have their day in court. Wildlife advocates countered that the public was being purposefully misled, and that the legislation was a direct attack on the public’s ability to challenge the state’s decision.
Oregon Wild is currently considering additional legal options to force the ODFW to obey the law and use the best available science.