U.S. House passes bill to make killing sea lions easier in the Northwest
Source: Scott Learn, The Oregonian
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill today that would make it easier for Northwest states and tribes to kill California sea lions that eat salmon and other fish, including fish not listed under the Endangered Species Act.
House Bill 3069, spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., passed 232-188 as part of a package of 14 natural resource bills. Since 2008, the states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho have pursued killing California sea lions that gather at the base of Bonneville Dam to munch on adult salmon returning to spawn. But that program, which his killed or relocated 50 animals to date, has been stalled periodically by lawsuits from the Humane Society of the United States. A lawsuit is proceeding now.
Supporters said the bill's broader congressional authorization will help insulate the government from lawsuits under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It would also speed lethal take approvals by eliminating for at least five years review under the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires the government to look at environmental impacts, take public comment and consider other alternatives.
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