Legislation Introduced to Use State Sage-Grouse Plans

Legislation Introduced to Use State Sage-Grouse Plans

Both the House and the Senate have introduced legislation that would allow governors to override federal sage-grouse management plans and to use their own state sage-grouse conservation plans. The stated purposes of the legislation are to “1) facilitate implementation of state management plans over a period of multiple, consecutive greater sage-grouse life cycles, and 2) to demonstrate the efficacy of the state management plans for the protection of the greater sage-grouse.” The “Greater Sage-Grouse Protection and Recovery Act of 2017” (H.R. 527 and S. 273) would also not allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to reconsider its decision to not list the bird under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for an additional ten years. While the federal sage-grouse management plans were specifically cited as being essential in the decision to not list sage-grouse under the ESA, western lawmakers have been highly critical of the plans for being too restrictive and for withdrawing 10 million acres from new mining claims. Conservation organizations, on the other hand, are asking Congress to stay out of the process and give the plans time to work.

February 15, 2017