May 10, 2012

Siskiyou County contra OR7

By Damien M. Schiff Senior Attorney

My somewhat cryptic blog post title refers to an emerging controversy in the northern California county of Siskiyou, where the Board of Supervisors is considering an ordinance that would deem wolves found within the County to be nuisances and liable for destruction.  As this blog noted recently, a gray wolf known as OR7 that usually roams in Oregon has recently crossed state lines on more than one occasion.  His visit has concerned landowners in Siskiyou who are afraid that a gray wolf population may be reëstablished in California, bringing with it the many regulatory problems that have plagued ranchers and other landowners for decades in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.  One obvious problem with Siskiyou’s proposed ordinance is that the gray wolf in Oregon (and in California) remains protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, which would trump Siskiyou’s contrary local rule.  I suspect that the sponsors of the ordinance know that full well, but want nevertheless to draw attention to the issue, attention that is no doubt merited.

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