Judge dismisses claims against WDFW

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On Jan. 10, a King County Superior Court judge dismissed two of three claims against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in a case filed in August 2019.

Judge John McHale agreed with the State’s arguments that State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) claims should be dismissed, citing Washington Supreme Court case law, Washington statutes, and Washington Administrative Codes.

“Rather than a court room where there are winners and losers, our preference is to work through these decisions in a collaborative process. This decision lets us continue to do that,” said Donny Martorello, wolf policy lead for WDFW.

In the litigation, petitioners John Huskinson, Genevieve Jaquez-Schumacher, and Kettle Range Conservation Group director Tim Coleman asserted three claims. The two dismissed claims argued violations of SEPA. The petitioners’ SEPA claims alleged that the Department was required to conduct a threshold environmental determination and a supplemental environmental impact statement before issuing the 2017 wolf-livestock interaction protocol and the lethal removal authorizations challenged in the case.

The remaining claim of the petitioners is expected to be addressed at a hearing at a later date.