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Grizzly proposal violates state law

DAILY SUN NEWS EDITORIAL

State law is clear when it comes to grizzly bears: According to Revised Code of Washington 77.12.035, “Grizzly bears shall not be transplanted or introduced into the state.”

Now that everyone understands it’s against the law for anybody — even federal government employees — to bring grizzlies into our state, we think the National Park and U.S. Fish and Wildlife services should cease their efforts to circumvent state law and transport bears to the Cascade Mountains. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear likely as federal bureaucrats say they are “pleased” to push for the non-native predators rural communities don’t want.

They are so pleased with themselves, that they have released a draft environmental statement outlining possible plans for introduction of grizzlies, contrary to state law. But we think rural residents should let federal officials know their plans are neither warranted, nor wanted.

To get the point across, residents will have to attend meetings, file letters of objection on websites and even call the bureaucrats busy giving themselves a pat of the back. Residents have until March 14 to comment.

To be fair, the agencies say they have released an environmental assessment and possible plans to be in compliance with federal law. But why would the agencies waste our hard-earned tax dollars knowing Washingtonians have already said no to grizzlies?

According to the National Park Service, there are six grizzly bear populations in North America — none in Washington’s Cascade Mountains. In fact, the last time a grizzly siting was verified here was 21 years ago.

The options federal employees are offering are to take no action or introduce 200 non-native grizzlies captured elsewhere. Not taking action complies with state law, and would be the proper course of action. Still, federal bureaucrats with their own personal agendas don’t seem to get the hint.

To make sure they are heard, residents will likely have to participate in one of the public input webinars from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 14 or from 5-7 p.m. Feb. 26. To register, log onto http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grizzlydeis and click “meetings.” If you can’t make the webinars, you can also take in one of the open houses in Cle Elum, Cashmere, Renton and other areas from Feb. 13-24.

Then there’s always the option of submitting written comments via email prior to March 14 to http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grizzlydeis, or by sending a letter to Superintendent’s Office, North Cascades National Park Service Complex, 810 State Route 20, Sedro Woolley, WA 98284.

This is your opportunity to tell federal bureaucrats they have to obey state law.

If Washingtonians decide we want grizzlies in our recreational areas, we can take that up through the legislative process.

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