Gianforte Commends New Balanced Approach for Sage Grouse Management
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte responded favorably to a new report by the Department of Interior that recommends replacing misguided federal policy with more state control to improve sage grouse conservation and economic development on public lands.
“The Greater Sage-Grouse is not endangered, and state plans have increased the sage grouse population,” said Gianforte, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee. “Despite these facts, the Obama Administration enacted heavy-handed federal policies for the sole purpose of tying-up millions of acres of public land. I’m happy to see President Trump and Ryan Zinke focus on science and state plans for a more balanced approach.”
In 2015, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined the Greater Sage-Grouse did not “face the risk of extinction now or in the foreseeable future.” Despite that decision, the Obama Administration used the threat of a listing to ram through de facto critical habitat management plans and proposed the withdraw of 10 million acres of habitat from future mining activity. More than 7,000 active mining claims were present in the withdrawal area, while a mere 0.1% (171,000 acres) was actual sage grouse habitat. Additionally, a recent report shows the bird’s population has grown by nearly two-thirds since 2013, largely under cooperative efforts taken by the states.
The 52-page report by the Department of Interior’s Sage-Grouse Review Team was produced in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Sage Grouse Task Force, which is made up of representatives of each of the eleven western states where Greater Sage-Grouse live.