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Commission wants wolf removed from endangered species list

   March 19, 2003 — The Jefferson County Commission has endorsed an effort by Union County to remove the wolf from Oregon's endangered species list.
   The state Fish and Wildlife Commission currently is deliberating the issue and a bill on the subject has been sent before the Legislature. Critics of the wolf's listing argue that it offers no additional protection than what is already provided in federal law, but potentially creates an expensive problem for Oregonians should de-listing occur at the federal level. Further, they argue the wolf's protection has an astounding financial impact on rural Oregon industries and quality of life.
   In a letter to the Union County Commission signed by Walt Ponsford, Bill Bellamy and Mary Zemke, the commissioners say maintaining the wolf's listing "defies common sense."
   "It amazes us that at a time when Oregon is reducing funding for its predatory animal control and wildlife damage programs that it would even hesitate to de-list the wolf," the commissioners wrote. "Cash strapped counties are already being asked to backfill costs for predatory animal control that had been funded by the state."
   The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is holding a hearing on a proposal to de-list the wolf Thursday in Newport.