Thursday, March 17, 2016

Brown signs wolf bill, heads to Round-Up City

Gov. Kate Brown
Gov. Kate Brown
SALEM, Ore. – Gov. Kate Brown has signed the wolf de-listing bill (House Bill 4040) into law. The measure expresses support of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife’s decision to remove the wolf from the state’s endangered species list and manage the animals in Oregon according to the Oregon Wolf Plan.

That action by the commission is being challenged in court by animal activist groups. Sen. Bill Hansell (R-Athena) was a key supporter of the measure and says it is intended to prove that the Legislature approves the action taken by the commission.

“It will certainly tell the third leg of our traditional governmental system – the judiciary – that it cannot be argued that ODFW did not follow the intent of the Legislature,” Hansell said.

The measure was adopted as a committee bill by the House Agriculture Committee after being introduced by both Hansell and Rep. Greg Barreto (R-Cove). It almost stalled in the Senate, but ended up with bipartisan support in both houses. Hansell said it was somewhat nerve wracking waiting for Brown’s signature.

“I know she was being heavily lobbied by environmental groups, but I think when you cut away the emotion and looked at the issues, the governor saw what the issues were,” he said.
Brown apparently concurred. She sent a signing letter for House Bill 4040 to Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins that summed up her feelings.

“I support wolves,” she wrote. “I also recognize troubles arise in rural landscapes where wolves exist. Minimizing divisions between well-meaning Oregonians and providing the social space for wolves demands compromise and collaboration. While HB 4040 does not resolve this challenge, I believe the bipartisan support that brought the bill to my desk realized the importance of it.”

Brown said it is time to let the Oregon Wolf Plan move forward. She’s also paying a visit to Pendleton today.

The governor will tour the Pendleton Early Learning Center to witness firsthand how students are taking the first steps into a seamless system of cradle-to-career education. While she’s at PELC, she will also sign House Bill 4037 into law. It establishes a program to incentivize the use of solar energy for electricity. PELC is powered by solar panels.

Brown will then visit Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton. During that stop she will meet with student ambassadors and learn more about the precision irrigation program that is coming to the Hermiston campus.

Following those meetings, Brown will sit down with small business owners and members of the agricultural community. The governor will then continue her Oregon road trip, winding out the week with stops in Bend and Eugene.