June 08, 2017

Wyden Blasts Interior Department’s Attempt to Undo Federal Sage Grouse Plans

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today blasted Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s announcement that the department would review federal land management plans for the Greater Sage-grouse for their potential to impede oil and gas development on public lands. 

The review, issued in the form of a secretarial order, could undo federal sage grouse habitat management plans, which farmers, ranchers, environmentalists, and industry stakeholders spent years establishing to prevent an Endangered Species Act listing of the Greater Sage-grouse.

Westerners worked in an unprecedented way to create the current sage grouse conservation plans that are widely supported and serve as a model for future successful collaboration,” Wyden said. “By issuing this review, the Interior Department is ignoring the input of local stakeholders who spent years working to avoid a damaging Endangered Species Act listing and find a path forward for sage grouse habitat management.

“When it comes to managing the traditional multiple uses of our public lands, the Interior Department must ensure that all local stakeholders have a seat at the table, not just those who agree with this administration’s goals of benefitting the oil and gas industry.”

In a May letter, Wyden pressed the Interior Department to uphold the current sage grouse plans, which were created through a collaborative process involving broad local engagement and successfully prevented listing the species under the Endangered Species Act. Such a listing would harm local land users by creating uncertainty for ranchers, conservationists, sportsmen and industry stakeholders.