Western senators aim to protect training assets threatened by greater sage-grouse listing

stock image | St. George News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sens. Mike Lee, Dean Heller, Steve Daines, James Inhofe, James Lankford, Jerry Moran, James Risch, Orrin Hatch and Mike Crapo  introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would protect the ability of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to utilize their training ranges in western states, while also empowering those same states to better manage their wildlife.

“All three branches of our nation’s armed services have told us that a listing of the greater sage-grouse would negatively impact their training, readiness, operations, and costs,” Lee said. “Western states have a well-established and exemplary record of implementing their own sage-grouse conversation plans and there is zero need for other federal agencies to get involved.”

Heller echoed Lee’s sentiment by saying the nations administration’s overly restrictive sage grouse management plans would be devastating. Heller said allowing states to implement their proactive plans would be a better path.

“The listing of the greater sage-grouse and the Obama administration’s land-use plans will have a detrimental impact on Montana’s economy, our land users and our military’s access to critical training ranges,” Daines said. “Western states know best how to balance the management of our natural resources and wildlife with our recreational and local economic needs. States should be empowered to implement their own plans, not forced to abide by another burdensome, out-of-touch federal policy.”

Inhofe, chairman of the senate environment and public works committee. said the Endangered Species Act has forced communities to comply with expensive red tape, but has a small success rate.

We should be good stewards of our land and animals, but the Endangered Species Act listing of the American burying beetle and lesser prairie chicken in Oklahoma simply go too far,” Lankford said. “This type of extremism unnecessarily burdens some of our national defense installations, as well as agricultural and private economic activity. This amendment is needed to help the military maintain their resources and give Oklahoma more time to enact their conservation activities.”

The amendment would delay listing the greater sage grouse so states can implement conservation plans to ensure our military readiness and the survival of the bird. It would also delay listing the lesser prairie chicken for a period of at least five years.

“In 2011, then-Secretary Salazar invited states to prepare conservation plans in order to recover and conserve the Greater Sage-Grouse. Since then, our state has devoted enormous resources to develop a sustainable, long-term plan to preserve the species,” Hatch said. “Unfortunately, the Department of the Interior has since scrapped that idea and replaced it with a heavy-handed, top-down approach that is focused more on restricting economic development on millions of acres of public land and less on conserving the Grouse.  Utah deserves the opportunity to protect this bird in a balanced manner that takes into consideration the needs of the public as well as the species. This amendment empowers our state to do just that, and I strongly support its passage.”

Read more:  Local, state officials respond to release of sage-grouse land use plans

Submitted by the Offices of Sen. Mike Lee

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1 Comment

  • native born new mexican June 4, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Sage Grouse = another lame and very transparent excuse to do more massive land grabs by the internationalists running the Fed Gov. They never have enough.

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