One bill would provide funds for loss compesation
By STEVE BROWN
OLYMPIA -- As of April 3, several pieces of wolf-related legislation remain under consideration at the Washington State Legislature. That is the last day for committees to read in reports from the other house.
Senate Bill 5193, sponsored by Sen. John Smith, R-Colville, would authorize the Department of Fish and Wildlife to spend up to $50,000 per fiscal year from the State Wildlife Account to pay claims and assessment costs for injuries and losses to commercial livestock from wolves.
The department may also tap funds from other sources. Additionally, the bill removes the statutory cap on compensation on livestock depradation, instead basing compensation on the animal's market value.
Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes, said her House Bill 1501 is similar, but it is likely no longer viable.
The second-term legislator said she doesn't have much historical perspective on the wolf debate, but she has seen more cooperation among stakeholders.
"I believe it's still an emotional issue, but there are calmer discussions," she said. "We want to bring a balanced approach. People recognize wolves are part of the ecosystem and we have to manage that.
"We want to look at it as one Washington, but it's still an East-West issue, quite frankly."
HB1501 received supporting testimony from representatives of the Washington Cattlemen's Association, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wolf Haven International and the Humane Society of the United States.
Other pending legislation includes Senate Bill 5187, which would authorize the owner of livestock to kill a gray wolf without a state permit or license if the predator is in the act of attacking or threatening livestock or another domestic animal.
Legislation not making the cut includes a bill "ensuring that all Washingtonians share in the benefits of an expanding wolf population," a bill authorizing county governments to declare imminent threat to commercial livestock and to authorize the sheriff or other county agent to lethally remove wolves and a bill requiring state listings of the gray wolf as endangered or threatened to be limited to areas of the state where it is also listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Some of the other agriculture-related bills still in play:
* HB1113, requiring the Department of Ecology to identify beforehand any peer-reviewed science it relied on in preparing a significant agency action.
* HB1209, extending the program establishing Christmas tree grower licensure.
* HB1558, extending tax relief for income received for sale of honeybee supplies or for income received for pollination services.
* HB1770, allowing the appointment of nonvoting advisory members to commodity boards.
* SB5290, qualifying as an eligible renewable resource under the Energy Independence Act electricity from generation facilities in irrigation pipes, irrigation canals and water pipes used for domestic use.
* SB5766, improving the relationships between agricultural producers and state regulatory staff.
* SB5767, requiring the Department of Agriculture, upon request by a licensed milk producer, to issue an official individual identification tag (green tag) for bull calves and free-martins under 30 days of age. The bill also exempts inspection requirements for bull calves and free-martins that will not be transported out of the state.