Lawmaker: Executive Branch Sage Grouse Conservation Plan a De Facto Endangered Species Listing

Associated Press writer¬†Dan Elliott reported late last week that, “Federal land managers issued guidelines Thursday for restricting energy development, livestock grazing and other activities on public land in the West to protect the greater sage grouse, part of a broad effort to save the bird without resorting to listing it as an endangered species.

“The Bureau of Land Management guidelines tell field employees when and how to apply new rules under a sweeping conservation plan announced last year.

That plan is designed to keep the distinctive ground-dwelling bird from being listed as endangered or threatened, which could bring down tougher restrictions and provoke a political backlash against the Endangered Species Act.”

However, the AP article noted that, “But Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, denounced the guidelines and called the sage grouse conservation plan a ploy by the Obama administration to block energy development and commandeer state conservation plans.

“‘These plans, written as if the sage grouse were listed, are proof it was an underhanded, de facto listing scheme that further oppresses Western states,’ Bishop said in a written statement.”

Mr. Elliot added that, “The guidelines instruct BLM staff to review livestock grazing permits in the most sensitive areas first, to see if new protections are needed.

“The guidelines cover about 95,000 square miles of land overseen by the BLM. The U.S. Forest Service and state agencies are drawing up their own plans for land they manage.”

This entry was posted in Agriculture Law. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.