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Feds revoke authority to kill sea lions

Federal officials revoked the permission today they had given to Oregon and Washington to trap and kill sea lions on the Columbia River. But Rob Manning reports it may be just a temporary move.

The Humane Society of the United States is battling the two states and the federal government in court over the propriety of killing sea lions to save salmon. Government officials say there are doubts about whether the latest federal authorization was given properly – because the states hadn't requested new authority.

Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is withdrawing that permission. But Jessica Sall with Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife says her agency will ask again for permission to remove sea lions.

"I know that we will be asking for very similar authority. Whether or not that's the decision that's finally made by NOAA will be up to them."

Sall says NOAA has told Oregon it could have a decision by next February – in time for the anticipated arrival of sea lions, next year.

Oregon and Washington removed about forty sea lions over three years.


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.