A Thurston County Superior Court judge says WDFW can’t issue new black bear timber depredation permits as soon as an environmental group pays a steep $100,000 bond.
Center For Biological Diversity, which sued the state agency in late May over what it contends is an illegal hunting program, has until June 20th to round the money up.
“Although the harm is monetary, it is significant to property owners, and for that reason the court is declining to issue a nominal bond in this case,” said Judge Carol Murphy in video tweeted out from the courtroom by KING 5 reporter Alison Morrow, who has been chasing this story for more than a year.
If CBD doesn’t pay, the judge won’t issue preliminary injunctive relief to the Arizona-based organization.
But if it does on or before the 20th, WDFW couldn’t issue more permits as soon as one business day later.
The case stems from 1996’s I-655 and to a lesser degree 2000’s I-713, which while banning hunting bears with bait or dogs and body-gripping traps, provided exemptions for problem wildlife.
However, CBD says the program WDFW subsequently created to address bears that in spring gnaw on the bark of young Douglas firs, hemlocks and other species to get at a sugary sap underneath, often killing the commercially valuable trees, “does not fall within these narrow exceptions.”
Should the payment be made, Murphy said the court is willing to hold a judicial review of CBD’s petition “on an expedited basis.”
Morrow reports that the $100,000 bond is for damages to tree farm operators should the environmental group lose the case.