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Bonneville sea lions get reprieve from 9th circuit

Don Ryan
AP Photo
Several seal lions sit in two traps on the Columbia River near Bonneville Dam shortly before the doors are closed, trapping them for removal.

State and federal agencies can’t go on killing sea lions at Bonneville Dam, after an appeals’ court decision Tuesday.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals basically agreed with the Humane Society of the United States – the lead group that sued over a joint state and federal program to remove and kill sea lions. The Humane Society’s Sharon Young lays out the basic legal problem the court found with the sea lion program.

“The agency did not do an adequate job of considering the variety of other impacts it was allowing that were having a much greater effect on salmon than the sea lions.”

In blocking any further sea lion killings, the ruling questions how the feds could say that losing 17 percent of imperiled salmon to fishing wasn’t a problem, when losing 4 percent to sea lions was. The decision reverses a lower court decision from two years ago and sends the policy back to the federal fisheries’ agency. The feds could appeal, or adjust the policy and try again.

Rob Manning has been both a reporter and an on-air host at OPB. Before that, he filled both roles with local community station KBOO and nationally with Free Speech Radio News. He's also published freelance print stories with Portland's alternative weekly newspaper Willamette Week and Planning Magazine. In 2007, Rob received two awards for investigative reporting from the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and he was part of the award-winning team responsible for OPB's "Hunger Series." His current beats range from education to the environment, sports to land-use planning, politics to housing.
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