The US Fish and Wildlife service announced that the Greater Sage Grouse does not warrant specific protection under the Endangered Species Act for only the next 5 years. Representative Rob Bishop offered the following statement:
“This announcement changes nothing. It was an act of fundamental dishonesty. The Sage Grouse problem is no better solved today than it was yesterday before this announcement. Despite the Administration’s decision, as long as the BLM is able to impose its will on the state of Utah by changing its land management plans as if the bird were listed, defense readiness will suffer. Large tracts of military test and training ranges will be off limits if the Administration has its way. Language I included in NDAA is now more vital than ever. It allows state plans that protect the Sage Grouse to go into effect, and prohibits the BLM from gaining greater control over land than they already have. Using effective state plans, rather than a federal lands plan, is better for the state. Without this language the federal government will continue to abuse the states, shortchange the taxpayer and weaken the military.”
Under the State of Utah’s plan, there was a 20% increase in the number of Sage Grouse last year over the year prior. In June, the Interior Department revealed a land-use plan for the Sage Grouse that would usurp all state efforts to bolster the bird populations.