May 16, 2017

Wyden, Bennet Press Interior Secretary to Respect Local Input on Sage Grouse Plans

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Michael F. Bennet, D-Colo., today pressed Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to respect local input and years-long collaborative efforts on land management plans to prevent an Endangered Species Act listing for the Greater Sage-grouse. Such a listing would harm land users by creating unpredictability for ranchers, conservationists, sportsmen, and industry.

“Over the last decade, federal agencies, states, and a broad coalition of groups came together to establish science-based conservation plans that protect sage grouse and their habitat,” Wyden and Bennet wrote in their letter to Zinke. “These historic collaborative efforts – never before seen in the West – helped the sage grouse avoid a listing under the ESA and serve as a model for future successful collaborative conservation.”

In the letter today, Wyden and Bennet asked Zinke to outline actions the Interior Department will take to ensure the federal sage grouse plans are implemented effectively and in a way that protects the sage grouse habitat.

“An ESA listing for sage grouse would adversely affect land users across the West, creating regulatory uncertainty for ranchers, conservationists, sportsmen, and industry,” Wyden and Bennet wrote. “This uncertainty threatens the longstanding principle of multiple use on public lands.”

In his nomination hearing earlier this year, Zinke agreed the federal government should reward local, collaborative efforts like those that have resulted in locally and federally supported management plans for sage grouse habitats across the country.

Read the full text of the senators’ letter here.