Members of the House, Senate Introduce Legislation to Protect Sage Grouse

Washington, DC – Today, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Congressman Cory Gardner (R-CO), Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Congressman Steve Daines (R-MT) and Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) introduced the Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act. This legislation would prevent the Sage grouse from being listed under the Endangered Species Act for 10 years, and instead requires states to develop conservation management plans to meet the unique needs of the Sage grouse in each state. The Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act encourages states to work with the Departments of Interior and Agriculture throughout the species management process to ensure that all concerns about the recovery of the Sage grouse are met.

“A one-size-fits-all approach is not the way to best protect the Sage grouse,” said Congressman Gardner. “States have proven that they are more than capable of working in tandem with the federal government to preserve wildlife. By encouraging conservation plans at the state level, those most familiar with the local habitats and economies will be directly involved throughout the species management process. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to ensure that this legislation is signed into law, so that our states can continue their hard work protecting the Sage grouse.”

“Breaking free of the notion that Washington, DC has the solution to everything is no easy feat. However, the matter concerning the protection and recovery of the Western Sage grouse is a perfect example of something that can and should be managed by the states in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture.  States have proven to be equally, and in some instances more, capable of developing and implementing species recovery plans. In fact, efforts are already underway in many states to return this species to a robust population status and they should be given the opportunity to continue their efforts to ensure the Sage grouse’s long-term health and viability,” said Congressman Bishop, Chairman of the House Natural Resources Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee.

“The State of Wyoming has worked tirelessly with stakeholders over many years to protect the sage grouse. These efforts have already proven that conservation plans created by states, and local groups, work better to protect habitat and increase sage grouse population than top-down federal plans,” said Senator Enzi. “This bill will allow Western states to continue to manage their own sage grouse population, letting them take into account the distinct management needs within their own communities.”

“Biologists and other experts have stated time and again that the most effective species preservation efforts are locally-tailored and take into consideration the unique ecology and topography of the region in which the habitat occurs.  If the goal is truly to protect the sage grouse, a one-size-fits all listing out of Washington is not only less effective than locally-tailored plans, but jeopardizes the ongoing work being done in states to preserve and recover the species,” said Congressman Tipton. “State and local species preservation efforts already underway should be given the chance to continue to work to increase the grouse population without interference from Washington.”

“As a fifth-generation Montanan, I know firsthand how damaging federal overreach can be to the folks who depend on our land and resources for their income and their way of life,” said Congressman Steve Daines. “No Washington, D.C. bureaucrat cares about what happens in Montana as much as we do. Montanans are best equipped to manage and protect our resources and our wildlife, without destroying our economy or killing jobs. This bill will ensure Montanans, not federal bureaucrats, are empowered to find solutions that best fit our state’s needs.”

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Congressman Gardner is a member in the U.S. House of Representatives serving Colorado's 4th Congressional District. He sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee and is a member of the following Subcommittees: Communications and Technology, Energy and Power, and Oversight and Investigations.

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