WASHINGTON— Rep. Rob Bishop, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, held an oversight hearing titled, "Empowering State Management of Greater Sage Grouse.” Bishop said the following during his opening remarks:
“Given the chance, states could prevent the need for a federal listing, and prevent endless fights to de-list species that recover. States have already proven to be laboratories where innovative policy-makers can experiment to develop more effective policies. The problem with the federal one-size-fits-all approach is that it’s never actually been compared to anything else.”
Kathleen Clarke was the Director of the Bureau of Land Management from 2001 to 2006 and is currently the Director of the Utah Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office. Ms. Clarke served as a witness at today’s hearing and stated the following during her testimony:
“The State of Utah’s Conservation Plan provides a solid framework for assessing the needs of the birds within the State. Utah is not a vast sea of sagebrush, such as found in Wyoming or the Great Basin. The most important conservation strategies address the major threats to the species in Utah – wildfire and the associated invasion of undesirable grass, and the encroachment of conifer trees into the sagebrush. These natural events constitute 97% of the threat to the species in Utah. Human activities, such as energy development and exurban development, are not major threats, representing only 3% of the threat. Utah’s sage-grouse conservation strategies are completely based upon the best available science developed over the past 20 years, and the most robust data.”
Various other witnesses testified on the utility of state conservation strategies, and how a federal endangered listing and rigid federal land management decisions could undermine these efforts.
For more information on the hearing, including witness testimony, please visit the website.