Earlier this month, a superior court judge in Thurston County dismissed three of four claims made against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife by environmental groups. The claims center on a case filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands in November 2018.
The groups asserted two claims of violation of the State Environmental Policy Act, better known as SEPA. The groups claim WDFW was required to conduct a threshold environmental determination and a supplemental environmental impact statement before issuing the 2017 wolf-livestock interaction protocol and the three lethal removal authorizations challenged in the case.
Judge John C. Skinder agreed with the State’s arguments that the SEPA claims should be dismissed as a matter of law, citing Washington Supreme Court case law, Washington statutes, and Washington Administrative Codes. Judge Skinder also dismissed a third claim associated with the issuance of a kill permit in 2018, per a motion of voluntary dismissal filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands.
“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, wolf policy lead.
The remaining claim of the petitioners is expected to be addressed at a later date in a hearing on the merits.
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