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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Ranchers closer to being compensated for wolf-kill losses

Ranchers closer to being compensated for wolf-kill losses

In a 20 to 7 vote, the senate Friday afternoon passed a bill that establishes credit against income taxes to compensate for livestock killed by wolves.

House Bill 4005, introduced by Dist. 58 Rep. Bob Jenson of Pendleton, now awaits the signature of Gov. John Kitzhaber.

The bill passed early last week in the House 55 to 5 and was expected to pass the senate, said Jenson.

“The bill was one of my ideas,” said Jenson. “We have wolves and as it stands right now they are protected under the state’s endangered species act, which means they are going to be with us.”

Jenson said he wanted to come up with something that would help ranchers when their livestock is killed by wolves. A compensation bill allocating $100,000 for the biennium was passed last year and signed into law by Kitzhaber in August.

Jenson said he wanted to do a little bit more.

“Wolves plus cattle equals wolf-killed cattle,” said Jenson. 

It was my intention to raise a little more money to provide assistance for those who can document loss to wolves. I don’t pretend this is the answer, but it may take some of the sting out when a wolf kills an animal.”

Jenson also helped shepherd a bill sponsored by the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association that would make an Oregon Administrative Rule included in the Oregon Wolf Plan into an Oregon Revised Statute. The rule allows Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to kill wolves involved in chronic livestock killings.

The state was sued last fall by environmentalists for exercising the rule; the cattlemen filed as interveners on the state’s behalf and several counties filed amicus briefs in support of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The intent to change a rule into a statute was to galvanize the state’s ability to lethally remove problem wolves.

“We should ensure that Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has the necessary tools to manage wolves,” said Jenson.

Jenson said the bill, which passed the house, ran into some problems in the senate’s natural resource committee. The senate re-convenes today, but the fate of the “kill bill” is unknown.

“I’ve seen miracles happen before in this building. If we don’t get it done now, regardless of the court’s ruling, we will get it into the next session to ensure ODFW can enforce the Wolf Plan.”

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