DNR finalizes decision denying permits to Ely bear researcher Lynn Rogers
By John JMyers / Duluth News Tribune
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday said it has made final its decision to strip Ely bear researcher Lynn Rogers of the permits he needs to place radio collars on wild bears.
Rogers said Wednesday that he will appeal the DNR’s decision to a three-judge panel of the Minnesota Court of Appeals within 30 days.
“I just talked to my attorney and we’re quite optimistic. There’s no way the DNR can make this decision objectively when they’ve been targeting me and our bears for years,” Rogers said.
The DNR first issued Rogers a permit to collar bears in 1999. But in 2013, the agency decided not to reissue it because of public safety concerns, and because of what it said was Rogers’ failure to produce peer-reviewed studies based on his research permit.
Rogers argued that he hadn’t had a fair hearing, and Ramsey County District Court Judge John H. Guthmann ordered the two sides to go before an administrative law judge to settle the matter.
Chief Administrative Law Judge Tammy Pust in May agreed with the DNR, finding that Rogers’ hand-feeding of bears in the Eagles Nest Township area southwest of Ely constituted “a risk to public safety” by habituating the bears to human contact, and conditioning them to associate people with food.
Pust’s ruling has been under DNR review since May, with the final decision issued this week.
“The decision was consistent with the agency’s original decision in July 2013 to not renew his permit and with the recommendations of an administrative law judge, who issued her findings last May,” the DNR posted on its website. “This decision means the agency will no longer provide a research permit to Dr. Rogers to collar bears or to place den cameras in bear dens.”
The DNR said the finding also fulfills all of its requirements ordered by Guthmann in 2013.