What does on look for in a new director of Oregon’s fish and wildlife agency?

It depends who you ask. The Oregonian posed the question to several people with a stake in the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission’s upcoming decision about who should lead the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife into the future. The new director take office in the middle of deliberations over a $32 million budget hole and the beginning of discussions about how to fund the agency in the future as traditional funding sources erode. Here’s what they had to say.

The Humane Society of the United States has launched a campaign against bills in the Oregon Legislature that would broaden hunting of cougars in the state. The nonprofit animal rights group issued a release this week calling upon its members to contact their lawmakers in opposition of the bills, HB 2050, H2181, SB 126 and SB 453. The bills would exempt counties from the statewide ban on hunting cougars with dogs, provided county voters approved the exemption.

A U.S. district court judge will hear arguments Thursday in lawsuit claiming the Environmental Protection Agency has failed to address ocean acidification that’s killing oysters and other sea life in Oregon and Washington. The Center for Biological Diversity’s lawsuit challenges the EPA’s decision in 2012 that seawaters in those two states meet water-quality standards to protect marine life despite disturbing increases in acidity. The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the U.S. District Federal Courthouse in Seattle. Ocean acidification caused by carbon dioxide emissions has left the Pacific Northwest shellfish industry reeling and spurred scientists into action to find ways of lessening the blow of human-caused pollution in the sea.

Two Portland-area lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bill to tighten regulation of the timber industry’s aerial spraying of weed killers on clearcuts, The Oregonian’s Rob Davis reports. The proposal, which faces industry opposition, would make Oregon’s spraying laws — the West Coast’s weakest — hew closer to those in Washington and California by increasing transparency and public notice of planned sprays and prescribed burns. A 2014 investigation by The Oregonian/OregonLive found Oregon today does less to protect people and the environment from drifting chemicals sprayed to control weeds that sprout after clearcuts than neighboring states.

— Kelly House

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