Sen. John Barrasso (photo courtesy U.S. Senate - click to enlarge)

Western lawmakers introduce legislation to protect sage grouse, responsible land use

Washington, DC – Thursday, U.S. Senators Mike Enzi, John Barrasso and U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis, all R-Wyo., joined Representative Cory Gardner, R-CO, in introducing the Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act. This legislation would prevent the sage grouse from being listed under the Endangered Species Act for 10 years and allows states to develop conservation management plans to meet the unique needs of the sage grouse in each state. The Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act requires the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to work with states throughout the species management process to ensure that all concerns about the recovery of the sage grouse are met.

 “The State of Wyoming has worked tirelessly with stakeholders over many years to protect the sage grouse. These efforts have already proven that conservation plans created by states, and local groups, work better to protect habitat and increase sage grouse population than top-down federal plans,” said Enzi. “This bill will help ensure western states continue to manage their own sage grouse populations, letting them take into account the distinct management needs within their own borders.”

“States like Wyoming are already leading the way when it comes to protecting species on the ground—including the sage grouse. The last thing states need are more one-size-fits-all regulations from Washington that won’t help species and will devastate local economies,” said Barrasso. “By forcing Washington to stay out of the way, this bill puts Americans who live in these communities and know what works best in charge of managing the land and wildlife. It also gives states the tools they need to develop a sound conservation plan and ultimately prevent the sage grouse from being listed—a win-win for wildlife and our economy.”

“Wyoming has been the leader on sage grouse conservation, developing a balanced conservation plan that puts actual boots-on-the-ground to both protect sage grouse and allow for the responsible use of our lands,” said Lummis. “Other western states in the sage grouse range are following suit in developing their own plans geared towards the unique needs of sage grouse within their borders and conservation efforts that will be far more effective than a one-size-fits all federal solution.  Our bill facilitates these unprecedented state efforts and prevents them from being undermined by a federal listing.”
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Topics : Environment
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