SALEM, Oregon - After months of hard work, long conversations and countless meetings, HB 4040 passed the senate on a 17-11 vote Wednesday evening. This bill, sponsored by Representative Barreto, gives support to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and their decision to delist the wolf. All that remains is for Governor Kate Brown to give final approval.
The Oregon Cattlemen's Association have been huge supporters of the bill and are satisfied with its outcome. Rocky Dallum, political advocate for the association, said, "Legislators on both sides of the aisle put significant effort into ensuring that the Legislature weighed in on an issue that may not affect a wide majority of Oregonians." He commended Oregon ranchers for their input on the bill saying, "OCA members drove thousands of miles this month to speak with legislators about this bill and put in countless calls and emails."
Todd Nash, a rancher from Wallowa County and Wolf Committee Chair for the OCA, is one of many ranchers who has dedicated significant time and resources to telling the story of wolves' effect on the Oregon rancher. "This is a win for all of Oregon that believe in the public process," he said. "I'm proud of everyone involved, moving away from court decisions and into public forum is a positive step forward."
The outcome of this bill gives additional support for the Oregon Wolf Plan that was previously agreed on by multiple stakeholders. "The Legislature's support for ODFW's delisting decision reduces the risk that special interest groups can use the threat of expensive court cases to force ODFW into changing the wolf plan without involving all stakeholders," Dallum said.
Jerome Rosa, executive director for the Oregon Cattlemen's Association, feels the passing of the bill was made possible by multiple parties. "We would like to thank Rocky Dallum for his outstanding endeavors regarding HB 4040. We would also like to thank Rep. Barreto, Sen. Hansell and Sen. Ferrioli for their dedication to this bill and also thank our OCA members for their contributions that helped this bill pass," he said.
HB 4040 does not change the Oregon Wolf Plan, but it does help clear the path for it to play out as it was intended. Evidence of the plan working can be seen in the recent ODFW report that states Oregon's wolf population increased 36 percent in 2015. Nash sees the passing of HB 4040 as positive progress. "This was a small step forward toward getting us to a place where all of Oregon can live with wolves."
The Oregon Cattlemen's Association was founded in 1913 and works to promote environmentally and socially sound industry practices, improve and strengthen the economics of the industry, and protect its industry communities and private property rights.