Contact: Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands Legal Director, 314.482.3746
Contact: Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands Legal Director, 314.482.3746
Steve Pedery, (503) 283-6343 x 212, firstname.lastname@example.org
“It is logically indefensible, and contrary to the notion of recovery under the Endangered Species Act, to suggest that wolves are in some way recovered when they’re still missing from nearly 90 percent of their suitable range in Oregon,” said Dr. Michael P. Nelson, the Ruth H. Spaniol chair of renewable resources and a professor of environmental ethics and philosophy at Oregon State University. “Dropping state protections for wolves right now would suggest that politics, rather than science and law, are guiding wildlife management decisions in Oregon.”
The state currently has about 83 wolves living in 10 packs, with several breeding pairs.
May 27, 2015
By Maya Rommwatt, Communications and Development Intern
On February 13th, comments are due to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the Jordan Cove LNG project. The potentially catastrophic project includes both a pipeline and a terminal for the purpose of transporting fracked natural gas and liquefying it for export to Asia. Similar to other proposals to transport gas and coal for the purposes of export, this project refuses to consider the impacts it will have on climate change, which now stands between us, and a livable future.
We’re living in an age of returns and firsts. Just recently, photos confirmed the presence of an extremely rare Sierra Nevada red fox in Yosemite National Park. There have been no sightings of the elusive creature there for ninety-nine years. And closer to home, we learned of activity of what appears to be another one or two wolves near Crater Lake, in addition to the burgeoning Rogue Pack. I never thought I would be able to speak of Western Oregon wolves, and yet here they are, pups and all.
But as this encouraging story unfolds, we make plans for pipelines and exports that will guarantee a future governed by catastrophic climate change. That future has no room for recovering species. This, as the EPA announces Canadian tar sands will only be developed if the Keystone pipeline is built, now that oil prices have dropped. While the Keystone pipeline may soon be a receding threat, the more local Jordan Cove project is a wholly different beast. The project would assure the export of inefficient fracked natural gas for decades to come, and once the Boardman coal plant shuts down, it will be Oregon’s biggest polluter. This doesn’t even factor in the emissions associated with obtaining the natural gas, nor does it consider the burning of the gas by its consumers in Asia. And yet, Oregon moves closer and closer to the LNG terminal. We have not even begun to ask what a future with the project might look like. If an accident were to happen with this project, say a spill, we taxpayers would likely be forced to help foot the cleanup bill, as the history of corporate settlements shows (corporations forced to pay punitive damages often deduct their settlement costs from their taxes).
The Jordon Cove LNG project is a disaster we can’t afford on a number of levels. It’s foolish to think we can both recover species and build the natural gas pipeline. Will we choose the path to recovery and growth, returns and firsts? Or will we choose the path of negligence and loss? Help us show the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission we stand on the right side of history, that we respect other species, and are not working in opposition to them. We have not spent countless hours and resources building a narrative with a future, only to wash it away so a Canadian corporation can make a profit at our expense and the expense of OR-7 and the Rogue pack, the wolverine, and the remaining ancient carbon-storing forests of the Pacific Northwest.
Now is the time to submit our comments; we have until noon on Friday the 13th for online comments or postmarked mailed comments. If you haven’t already done so, you can submit your comments beginning here.
More information on the pipeline can be found here.
Photo Credits: Top left, Two pups from the Rogue Pack, June 2014. (Photo by ODFW). Bottom right, No LNG protest. (Photo courtesy Francis Eatherington).
Cascadia Wildlands Statement on Wolf Recovery Announcement by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
January 28, 2015
Josh Laughlin, Campaign Director, Cascadia Wildlands, 541.844.8182
In 2012 Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild negotiated a landmark settlement agreement with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association after securing a legal injunction against wolf killing in Oregon. The settlement requires that during phase I livestock producers use proactive, non lethal methods to deter conflict between wolves and livestock, like cleaning up bone and carcass piles and utilizing human presence, before any lethal control on wolves can be used. It also sets a threshold of four livestock depredations by the same wolf or wolves in six months in order to trigger lethal control. The settlement also greatly increases agency transparency in its wolf management program. No wolves have been lethally controlled in Oregon since the settlement agreement was signed.
"Cascadia Wildlands is encouraged by the ongoing success of wolf recovery in Oregon, but it is not the time to let up," said Nick Cady, Legal Director with Cascadia Wildlands. "It is our hope that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife continues to implement the state’s landmark wolf management plan and rules that have served as a recovery model for other states while preventing burdensome conflict."
“While it is exciting that wolf populations in Oregon continue to expand, it is critical that the state remain vigilant in ensuring statewide recovery objectives are met,” said Josh Laughlin, Campaign Director with Cascadia Wildlands. “Much of western Oregon’s wildlands remain devoid of wolves and will be relying on robust populations in eastern Oregon to disperse into new territories.”
“Oregon's wolf management rules incentivize non-lethal measures aimed at preventing wolf/livestock conflict and provide necessary tools and financial assistance to livestock producers,” explained Cady. “The plan has kept conflict down and headed off the constant political battles that have hampered recovery efforts in neighboring states like Washington."
I know some will argue that lethal control is still needed for situations of chronic livestock depredation and where predators are dampening prey or endangered species recovery. But even in these instances our opting for trigger, trap or poison is really more about our inability to admit that we are often raising the wrong animals in the wrong way in the wrong places and also our reluctance to recalibrate our expectations in regards to our ability to harvest, destroy and neglect our natural resources at unsustainable levels without consequence.
Three wolf examples come to mind when I think of prime illustrations of the above: the Huckleberry pack control action, continual calls for wolf control in the Lolo National Forest to save elk and the killing of wolves in Alberta to save caribou.
With the Huckleberry incident in eastern Washington—which we have written about repeatedly (1,2,3)—you basically have too many of the wrong animal (i.e., sheep including rams) placed in poor habitat with little or no supervision near an area of known wolf activity. Certainly livestock losses are regrettable and we have sympathy for the rancher who has to move his or her animals to alternative pasture, but the question hovers: Was this choice of stocking levels, location and inattention to non-lethal alternatives prudent given the situation? One thing to think about in this context is the idea that anyone can leave roughly $180,000 worth of assets on any landscape without providing some measure of presence or protection from mishap. In any event, this set of circumstances seems to not be a compelling argument for lethal control of a species recently released from federal protection and still under Washington State protection.
The elk population decline in the Lolo has been offered up far too often as the poster child for the need for wolf control regardless of the fact that the decline started long before wolves came on the scene. And biologist after biologist has pointed to this decline being associated with habitat succession (i.e., open areas transitioning to brush land and then to forests). Certainly wolves are causing this decline to linger longer but at the end of the day this elk population is still habitat limited and will remain so as the availability of early seral habitat continues to decline. Elk are creatures of disturbance and when the logging is done or fires put out the ticking clock of transition from good elk habitat to bad starts. The State of Idaho is pursuing lethal control of wolves in this area but they are unlikely to get any awards for sound science or innovative management out of this endeavor (see here).
Laura King, Western Environmental Law Center, (406) 204-4852
Bob Ferris, Cascadia Wildlands, (541) 434-1463
Lynne Stone, Boulder-White Clouds Council, (208) 721-7301
Conservationists celebrate win just 12 days after filing lawsuit to stop the wolf-hunting contest on public lands
Cascadia Wildlands needs your support in our fight against predator killing contests. (click here)