WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Chris Stewart introduced legislation Thursday to help restore the greater sage-grouse population and prevent its listing under the Endangered Species Act. The bill, the Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act, would allow states to implement their own state-specific conservation and management plans for the recovery of the greater sage-grouse.
Read the bill here: (Proposed) Sage-Grouse Protection and Conservation Act – House Bill introduced 20150423 by Rep. Chris Stewart
“I have full confidence that states are more motivated and better suited to fully recover sage-grouse populations than the federal government,” Stewart said. “They have the expertise and passion to develop and manage conservation plans. States, including Utah, have developed plans that will help prevent the necessity of listing the species as threatened or endangered – they just need time to prove effective.”
The Sage-Grouse Protection and Conservation Act (proposed)
- Allows a state to create and implement a state-specific conservation and management plan that will successfully protect and restore greater sage-grouse populations and their habitats, in lieu of federal management through land use plan amendments and the ESA
- This is not a mandate – a state may choose to defer to federal agencies for greater sage-grouse protection
- Requires states, opting to implement their own plan, to collect monitoring data and population trends of greater sage-grouse and report this information to the Secretary of Interior
- Requires the Secretary of Interior to share scientific data with states, assist states in crafting and implementating the state’s plan, and recognize these state plans for a minimum of six years
- Prohibits the Secretary of Interior from conducting large-scale mineral withdrawals for the protection of greater sage-grouse
- Requires the Secretary of Interior to implement Secretarial Order 3336 to effectively prevent rangeland fire and restore sage-brush landscapes on federal lands
There are several efforts being made by members of Congress to prevent the listing of the greater sage-grouse species through amendments and additional legislation.
“I support any effort to pass legislation that allows time for state sage-grouse conservation plans to prove effective,” Stewart said.
There are a number of co-sponsors from across the western states, including Colorado, North Dakota, Nevada, Washington, Idaho and Montana.
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., introduced a companion bill in the United States Senate. In a statement issued Wednesday, he said:
Coloradans know best how to protect our own precious natural resources. Western states have invested time and resources into developing conservation plans since 2011, and the bipartisan Western Governors Association has repeatedly expressed support for a state-based approach. Now, the time has come for the federal government to allow these states to put their plans into action, protecting the sage-grouse while mitigating any negative effects on jobs and our economy. I’m proud to lead this effort in the United States Senate, and I’ll work hard to ensure my bill passes.
- Governor signs executive order to protect greater sage grouse
- Utah disappointed at EPA listing Gunnison sage-grouse as threatened
- BLM advisory council meets on Greater Sage-Grouse land use; public participation invited
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