NRDC and Allies Sue Mendocino County AGAIN


(C) Lisa Whiteman

Every year, California's Mendocino County kills hundreds of coyotes, bobcats, bears, cougars, foxes, and other animals on behest of the private livestock industry without ANY consideration of its impacts on the animals themselves, other species, and the ecosystem as a whole, by entering into contracts with Wildlife Services.

That's why we sued them last June under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA"), which requires government decisionmakers like Mendocino County to evaluate the environmental impacts of their actions and attempt to reduce them if possible.

We asked Mendocino to evaluate the impacts of their predator control program and assess the effectiveness of nonlethal methods of livestock-predator conflict control, such as fencing, guard dogs, and increased human presence among livestock. Our hope was that they'd end their contract with Wildlife Services for good and transition to a largely nonlethal program.

Things were looking up for a while. The County admitted it hadn't complied with CEQA and told us it would conduct an environmental review of its predator control program before entering into any further contracts with Wildlife Services if we settled the suit. Trusting them, we did as they asked.

But, unfortunately, the story doesn't end there.

Soon after the settlement agreement was reached and we dismissed our case, Mendocino County decided to renew its contract with Wildlife Services--again, without any environmental review! The County claims it is exempt from CEQA, and is thus not required to conduct an environmental review.

Not only does this violate our settlement agreement with the County, but it's also just plain wrong. That's why, today, we once again filed a complaint against the County asking them to what they promised. Hopefully, second time's the charm!