Wolf bills should be approved

By Observer editorial March 07, 2012 12:51 pm
The legislature approved one wolf bill and failed to act on another before ending its session Monday.

Gov. John Kitzhaber should sign into law House Bill 4005, which establishes a credit against income taxes for ranchers to compensate for livestock killed by wolves.

A compensation bill providing  $100,000 for the biennium was passed last year and signed into law by Kitzhaber in August. But Dist. 58 Rep. Bob Jenson of Pendleton decided that wasn’t enough financial help. So, this session, he sponsored House Bill 4005.

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

He said financially assisting those who can document loss to wolves “may take some of the sting out when a wolf kills an animal.”

The legislature did not approve another bill which would allow Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials to kill wolves involved in chronic livestock killings.

HB 4158 was sponsored by the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association in an effort to give the state statutory authority to lethally remove problem wolves.

The state was sued last fall by environmentalists when officials tried to kill Northeast Oregon wolves that had been attacking livestock under the state’s Wolf Plan --- a plan that environmentalists had agreed to.

The bill, which passed the House but never made it out of the Senate’s natural resource committee, would ensure that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has the necessary tools to manage wolves.

Compensating ranchers for wolf losses and giving state officials the power to kill problem wolves are absolutely necessary.