Environews: Sage grouse decision sparks political tantrums

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Environmental Politics, Think

Environews: Sage grouse decision sparks political tantrums

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This fall, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced a landmark decision not to put sage grouse on the Endan­gered Species List because collaborative conser­vation efforts by federal and state agencies and private landowners seem to be working. The success of these efforts should be something to celebrate.

— by Amy Brunvand

Utah politicians have been trying for years to keep sage grouse off of the Endangered Species List with strategies ranging from paying big money to anti-sage grouse lobbyists to grudgingly implementing land management policies that might actually protect sage-grouse habitat.

But were Utah politicians happy to get what they wanted? Not at all. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) issued a press release insisting that not listing sage grouse, “will damage the economy and cost Utah thousands of jobs”; Congress­man Rob Bishop (R-UT-1) blamed not listing sage grouse for harming the nation’s defense readiness; Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said that not listing sage grouse would jeopardize “conservation of the species and reasonable economic growth in Utah.”

It seems anti-conservation politicians are furiously angry because even though sage grouse have not been listed as endangered, the State of Utah is still required to take action to make sure they don’t go extinct; as Rob Bishop griped, “The announcement not to list the sage grouse is a cynical ploy. With the stroke of a pen, the Obama Administration’s oppressive land management plan is the same as a listing.”

Western Association of Fish and wildlife Agencies: Sage Grouse Population Trends: http://bit.ly/1KQvBIC

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