Gov. Gary R. Herbert issued the following statement regarding the greater sage-grouse decision announced today:
“I am deeply concerned with the decisions of the Departments of Interior and Agriculture which constitute a significant overreach by the federal government on this issue. The state of Utah has implemented a successful sage-grouse conservation plan that has been rejected by the federal government, jeopardizing conservation of the species and reasonable economic growth in Utah.
“Today’s actions constitute the equivalent of a listing decision outside the normal process and fail to support an appropriate balance between conservation and other public uses of the land. The state is not satisfied with the Records of Decision on land use plan amendments as issued by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Their one-size-fits-all approach does not reflect the tremendous diversity in greater sage-grouse habitats across the West. These federal land use plan amendments are unnecessarily restrictive in nature and devalue Utah’s management plan and the conservation commitments from private landowners.
“I have always believed that, as a state, Utah is better positioned to manage our sage-grouse population than the federal government. Utah has in fact adopted a strong conservation plan designed to protect, enhance and restore sage-grouse habitats throughout the state. This effort by Utah has resulted in the restoration of more than 500,000 acres of sage-grouse habitat and a significant growth in sage-grouse populations. We will continue to work with the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to accept the State of Utah’s conservation plan. We will also pursue legislative and potential judicial relief to protect the state’s interests and ensure conservation of the species.