Hunting group plans to sue Washington gov over Fish and Wildlife Commission structure

ERIC BARKER Lewiston Tribune

A Washington hunting and conservation group said it intends to sue Washington Gov. Jay Inslee for failing to maintain a balance of perspectives on the state’s Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Washingtonians for Wildlife Conservation charge that the governor, when selecting commissioners to serve on the nine-member panel, hasn’t followed the direction laid out in Washington code.

The group said Inslee’s recent appointments to the commission have made decisions that harm hunters and some wildlife populations, and favor predators and anti-hunters.

“The commission is on solid footing with the environmental groups and the animal rights groups,” said the organization’s president Mark Pidgeon, of Kent, Washington. “We on the hunting side here are sorely underrepresented.”

He said the commission lacks members representing hunters and other key constituents such as recreational anglers, commercial fishing and landowners.

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In a posting on its Facebook page, the group contends Inslee has violated state code that says when selecting commissioners, governors “shall seek to maintain a balance reflecting all aspects of fish and wildlife, including representation recommended by organized groups representing sportfishers, commercial fishers, hunters, private landowners, and environmentalists.”

Inslee appointed two commissioners —

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