Court: Clarno wrongly rejected environmental initiatives

SALEM, Ore. (AP) —

Secretary of State Bev Clarno improperly rejected three proposed ballot measures dealing with environmental protections last year, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that the three-judge panel concluded Clarno misinterpreted state law when she tossed the proposals. The court also found that a Marion County judge had erred in agreeing with Clarno.

The opinion could signal an end to the months-long court dispute over how Clarno has wielded her authority over potential ballot measures. Environmental and labor groups, along with Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, have all opposed the Republican secretary’s reading of the law on that subject.

At issue were three initiative petitions spearheaded by the group Oregon Wild last year. The petitions differed in their specifics, but all proposed new policies for forest management in the state, including regulations on clear cutting, limits on aerial spraying of pesticides, and new rules for a board overseeing the Department of Forestry.

Clarno rejected the measures in September, finding they did not meet a constitutional requirement that ballot measures deal with a single subject.

In a statement she said she was disappointed in the ruling and considering her options.

“I believe the single subject rule means something and had hoped the Court would agree. We will have to thoroughly read the opinion and consult with our attorneys before deciding on further action,” Clarno said.