BREAKING NEWS: OR State Rep Brags on Record about Illegally Killing Hundreds of Sea Lions
Earlier this spring, the Oregon House debated HJM 17, an egregious and merely symbolic bill calling upon the Federal Government to ignore the Marine Mammal Protection Act and start killing off sea lions "by any means necessary." During the hearing over this bill, Oregon State Representative Wayne Krieger of Gold Beach bragged repeatedly on the record about all the sea lions he has killed. Even after being reminded several times that he was on record, he continued to brag about breaking the law.
This is exactly the kind of lawless, vigilante behavior that has been happening since ODFW began assassinating sea lions on the Columbia. It was a wink and a nod to fishermen that it is now open season on these protected marine mammals. We have said this all along, and have mounds of evidence to show that the illegal killing of sea lions in Oregon and Washington has risen dramatically since the ODFW began the killing. We have brought this concern to the attention of authorities in the past, but to no avail. It has always been the old boyz club. Now, however, the situation has escalated.
We now have an Oregon legislator actually bragging about his illegal actions and after being reminded to stop talking about it on record, he stated that he did not care because killing sea lions is "acceptable where he comes from." Perhaps, perhaps not. But either way, it is illegal, and can result in enormous fines and jail time for every single violation. He claimed that the number of sea lions whom he had personally killed "could not fit in this room." (A huge room, by the way.)
We have had enough of this. A private citizen, on behalf of the Sea Lion Defense Brigade, has submitted all the recorded evidence and filed a formal demand for an investigation into this matter. Here is the test of the complaint: "
Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Director
NOAA Office of Law Enforcement
8484 Georgia Ave, Suite 415
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Vicki Nomura, Special Agent in Charge
NOAA Office of Law Enforcement
7600 Sand Point Way
Seattle, WA 98115
Captain Jeff Samuels, Division Director
Oregon State Police, Fish and Wildlife Division
255 Capitol Street NE, 4th Floor
Salem, OR 97310
RE: Request for Criminal Investigation into Apparent Killing of Federally Protected Sea Lions by Oregon State Representative Wayne Krieger
On behalf of the Sea Lion Defense Brigade, I hereby submit this request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Law Enforcement (NOAA-OLE) to initiate an investigation regarding apparent criminal and civil violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Specifically, the Sea Lion Defense Brigade requests that NOAA-OLE conduct a criminal investigation pursuant to its authority under Section 107 of the MMPA, 16 U.S.C. § 1377, and Section 11 of the ESA, 16 U.S.C. § 1540, in connection with statements made by Oregon State Representative Wayne Krieger that he killed a large number of sea lions.
On April 19, 2011, the Energy, Environment, and Water Committee of the Oregon House of Representatives held work sessions on various proposed bills, including House Joint Memorial 17, which urges the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to approve immediate removal of California sea lions from the Columbia River. Approximately 38 minutes into the hearing, Co-Vice Chair Krieger asked the Committee Chair: "Are you going to tell them about the number of sea lions I've killed?" Audio: Meeting of the House Committee on Environment, Energy and Water (3:00 p.m., April 19, 2011) Clip 3 at 2:58 (available at http://www.leg.state.or.us/listn/ archive/archive.2011s/HEEW-201104191501.ram). The Chair responded that he was not going to make such a statement, and indicated that Rep. Krieger himself would have put this on the record. Id. Rep. Krieger said he would and that: "You could not fit them in this room. They wouldn't fit." Id. at 3.05.
Ostensibly recognizing the potential illegality of the actions being described, another committee member reminded Rep. Krieger that the hearing was being recorded. Unwavering, Rep. Krieger responded: "Good. Where I come from that's an acceptable thing." Id. at 3.12-3.18.
Rep. Krieger's actions, if they actually occurred, constitute clear violations of federal criminal law. The MMPA establishes a general moratorium on acts that kill or injure marine mammals, including sea lions. 16 U.S.C. §§ 1371(a); 1362(13). By admitting that he has killed sea lions, Rep. Krieger appears to have admitted to violating the MMPA. Further, given Rep. Krieger's position as a prominent public figure in the State of Oregon, by bragging about killing sea lions on the record in a public forum, Rep. Krieger has effectively encouraged other Oregon citizens to violate federal law as well. A person who knowingly violates the MMPA is liable, upon conviction, for a fine of up to $20,000 per violation, and may be sentenced to one year in prison. Id. at § 1375(b).
In addition, Rep. Krieger's actions may also constitute violations of the ESA. Similar to the MMPA, Section 9 of the ESA prohibits the "take" of an endangered species, which includes harassing, harming, wounding, or killing a listed species. 16 U.S.C. §§ 1538(a)(1)(B); 1532(19). Rep. Krieger represents Gold Beach, Oregon, within the known range of the Eastern Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of Steller sea lions. See 62 Fed. Reg. 24,345 (May 5, 1997) (the range of the Stellar sea lion "extends from California and associated waters to Alaska."). The Eastern DPS of Steller sea lions is designated as a threatened species under the ESA. 50 C.F.R. § 223.102. Thus, it is possible some of the sea lions Rep. Krieger bragged about killing are in fact a threatened species. The take prohibitions of Section 9 apply to the Eastern DPS of Steller sea lions. 50 C.F.R. § 223.202. A person who knowingly violates the ESA is liable, upon conviction, for a fine of up to $50,000 per violation, and may be sentenced to one year in prison. 16 U.S.C. § 1540(b).
Due to the egregious nature of these apparent violations, and the fact that Rep. Krieger's braggadocio suggests that he may continue to kill sea lions absent some enforcement action, the Sea Lion Defense Brigade respectfully requests that NOAA-OLE initiate and complete an investigation as soon as possible.
Sea Lion Defense Brigade
PO Box 385
St Helens, OR 97051
Ron Anglin, Division Administrator
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Division
3406 Cherry Avenue, NE
Salem, OR 97303"
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