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Judge dismisses parts of 2018 wolf lawsuit

Gray wolves from the Carpenter Ridge Pack seen from above in northeast Washington. (Washington Department of Fish an / COURTESY)
Gray wolves from the Carpenter Ridge Pack seen from above in northeast Washington. (Washington Department of Fish an / COURTESY)

On Nov. 1, a Thurston County Superior Court judge dismissed three of four claims against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in a case filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands in November 2018.

Filed in November 2018, the petitioners alleged that WDFW was required to conduct additional environmental impact reviews before issuing the 2017 wolf-livestock interaction protocol and three lethal removal authorizations challenged in the case, according to a WDFW news release. Judge John C. Skinder agreed with the State’s arguments that the State Environmental Policy Act claims should be dismissed as a matter of law, citing Washington Supreme Court case law, Washington statutes and Washington Administrative Codes.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands voluntarily withdrew a third claim regarding the legality of a kill permit issued to a rancher in 2018. The permit had expired.

“Rather than a court room where there are winners and losers, our preference is to work through these decisions in a collaborative process,” said Donny Martorello the state’s wolf policy lead in a news release.

Amaroq Weiss, the Center for Biological Diversity’s West Coast wolf advocate, called the ruling disappointing.

“We’re very disappointed that the state’s wolf killing program can continue with out public input and with out a scientific analysis of the risks,” she said.

The fourth and final claim alleges that the decision to order lethal removal of several wolves last year did not follow the state’s own internal process and did not take into account facts on the ground, Weiss said.

That claim will be heard at a later date.

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