Sage Grouse Could Cost Western States Billions In Development

States in the Intermountain West could lose billions of dollars in tax revenue and economic activity if the federal Fish and Wildlife Service lists the sage grouse as endangered.

Reports The Washington Post:

The fight over the sage grouse is similar in many respects to the debate over the Northern spotted owl, which in 1990 was listed as threatened. That decision shut down timber operations across more than 24 million acres in Northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, contributing to the industry’s precipitous decline.

The difference is that the sage grouse covers about 165 million acres, almost seven times the range of the spotted owl. The economic impact of virtually shutting down development in sage-grouse habitats could be orders of magnitude greater than what happened in the Pacific Northwest.