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Wolf Hearing Continues; Decision Possible Thursday

The Oregon Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources heard testimony Tuesday on House Bill 4040 -- the bill to "ratify" the decision of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to take gray wolves off of Oregon's endangered species list. What became clear at the hearing was that the bill is very much about preventing court review of the Fish and Wildlife decision. We think court review should be allowed to make sure the decision was consistent with the law and facts. Senators Michael Dembrow (Portland) and Floyd Prozanski (Eugene) asked very good (from our perspective), tough questions of the bills supporters, including (here) Sen. Bill Hansell (Pendleton area) and Rep. Greg Barreto (La Grande area). Sen. Doug Whitsett (Klamath Falls) aggressively questioned wolf advocates and seemed clearly to support the bill. Sen. Chris Edwards (Eugene) did not tip his hand much, and Sen. Alan Olsen (Canby) was absent (we don't know why). The hearing was continued until 3 p.m. Thursday for those who signed up but didn't get to testify Tuesday. The Committee also may make a decision Thursday. If you haven't already, there's still time to call and email Committee members to tell them you oppose the bill. Be sure you understand: wolves are still protected from hunting in Oregon but the decision to take them off the endangered species list could mean weaker protections down the road. Our main point: let the court review the decision to make sure it was correct.

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