Oregon Wild released the following statement following the signing of the anti-wolf legislation HB 4040 by Oregon Governor Kate Brown:
When Governor Kate Brown came into office, she declared that honest and open government would be her top priority. HB 4040, legislation written to shield the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) from judicial review and public accountability, directly undermines the Governor’s pledge of good governance.
ODFW broke the law when it removed state endangered species protections from gray wolves. Special interests, apparently recognizing the fact that the agency had overstepped its authority, successfully lobbied the Oregon Legislature to retroactively change the rules and undermine the ability of citizens to challenge the decisions of their government.
The governor should never have signed a bill that declares that wolves - one of Oregon’s most endangered and misunderstood animals - are immune to the obligations of meaningful scientific review or judicial process.
But the issue here is more than just wolves and wildlife, science and law.
Oregon has a reputation for being an environmentally-minded state. It is a brand consistently touted by our elected officials and leaders. Though that reputation may have been earned in the past, it is no longer in sync with reality. HB 4040 and its attack on judicial review is merely the latest in a series of scandals that threaten to expose the extent of Oregon’s greenwashing. When it comes to our air, water, forests, and wildlife, Oregon is falling ever further behind.
It is time for Oregon politicians to stop saying that we are a green state, and help us actually start living in one.