Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 2, 2016

Contact: Amaroq Weiss, (707) 779-9613,

Oregon Legislature Passes Controversial Wolf-delisting Bill Blocking Court Review

PORTLAND, Ore.— The Oregon Legislature passed a bill tonight ratifying the delisting of wolves in Oregon and effectively preempting the right to any legal challenge. The 17-11 Senate vote to pass HB 4040 follows the bill’s passage in the House two weeks ago. The bill was introduced by Republican proponents of delisting on behalf of the livestock and sports-hunting industries seeking to block judicial review of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission’s illegal wolf-delisting decision last November.

Photo of OR-25 courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. This photo is available for media use.

“The legislature has no business inserting itself into a matter that rightfully needs to be decided by a court of law,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity. “The only conscionable thing for Gov. Brown to do now is to veto this special-interest driven bill.”

In November 2015 the Fish and Wildlife Commission voted 4 to 2 to strip gray wolves of state endangered species act protections, despite having received comment letters from 25 leading scientists noting significant disagreement with delisting, and 10,000 public comments, 96 percent of which opposed the delisting. In December the Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild filed a legal challenge to the commission’s decision. Shortly after the 2016 session of the Oregon Legislature convened earlier this month, bills were introduced by Senate and House Republicans to ratify the commission’s decision in order to block judicial review of the delisting decision. H.B. 4040 now moves to the desk of Gov. Kate Brown, who can sign it into law, veto it or allow it to become law automatically by not signing it within 30 days. 

Two days before the Senate vote, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife released its end-of-year annual wolf report for 2015 indicating the wolf population had grown from 81 wolves at the end of 2014 to 110 wolves, an increase of 36 percent. The report also documented that livestock-wolf conflicts had decreased and that at least three, and possibly as many as five, wolves were illegally killed.

“What the 2015 wolf report tells us is that Oregon’s wolf population is still in the early stages of recovery and needs ongoing protections from threats like illegal killing,” said Weiss. “This anti-wolf bill is an affront to every Oregon citizen who cares about the state’s wild heritage.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 990,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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