By MITCH LIES
SALEM -- The Oregon House has passed a bill allowing some permit-less take of wolves and freeing up the state to execute a kill order on two wolves from a northeast Oregon pack.
House Bill 3452 keeps in motion an agreement reached in May between ranchers, environmental groups, state agencies and the governor's office on how to deal with wolves involved in attacking livestock.
The House passed it by a vote of 57 to 2.
The settlement agreement is contingent upon passage of HB3452.
The agreement also needs approval from the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, which plans to take the agreement up at its July meeting.
The agreement and the bill would allow the first permit-less take for landowners since wolves began reinhabiting Oregon earlier this century.
The permit-less take authority kicks in for ranchers who catch wolves biting, attacking or chasing livestock and who operate in areas of known wolf depredation and who have conducted nonlethal measures to try and prevent the wolf attacks.
HB3452 also frees the state to execute a lethal-take order issued in September 2011 on two wolves from the Imnaha pack. The pack has been involved in more than two dozen livestock attacks, including more than a dozen since the Oregon Court of Appeals issued an injunction on the order in October 2011.
The agreement in HB3452 was hatched in multiple meetings between ranchers, environmentalists, state agencies and the office of Gov. John Kitzhaber.
Two of the three groups that sued the state to halt the execution of the kill order signed onto the settlement agreement.
"What this bill is going to do, it is going to allow for the tools for managing those wolves (that are attacking livestock)," said Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, who spoke in support of the bill on the House floor.
HB3452 now heads to the Senate.