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OR: Clem expects wolf bills to clear House

Capital Press

SALEM — Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem, says that he believes cattlemen have the votes to get two wolf bills through the Oregon House.

House Bill 4005 would provide livestock owners a tax credit for livestock losses to wolves. A second bill, House Bill 4158, stipulates the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has the authority to kill problem wolves.

The bills are in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, which Clem co-chairs.

HB4005 is up for a committee vote Feb. 7. The committee meets in Hearing Room D beginning at 1 p.m. HB4158 is scheduled for a public hearing Feb. 9, also in Hearing Room D, beginning at 1 p.m.

Speaking to county Farm Bureau presidents during Oregon Farm Bureau’s Day at the Capitol on Feb. 6, Clem said he believes the House Agriculture Committee will support both bills unanimously. And, he said, the bills should enjoy continued strong support through the House floor.

Getting the bills to the desk of Gov. John Kitzhaber, however, may be difficult, he said.

Several bills last session cleared the House Agriculture Committee and the House floor, but failed to clear the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Jackie Dingfelder, D-Portland.

HB4158 is backed by the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association in response to an injunction issued Oct. 6 by the Oregon Court of Appeals. The injunction prevents the state from killing two wolves that prey on livestock.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in September issued a kill order for the wolves. The wolves are part of the Imnaha Pack in northeast Oregon, one of the state’s four known wolf packs.

The pack is responsible for killing more than 20 head of livestock, according to state wildlife officials.