Montana Officials Relieved by “Good News” That Sage Grouse Will Not Receive Endangered Listing
Montana officials breathed a bi-partisan sigh of relief this morning when Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the greater sage-grouse did not warrant a listing under the Endangered Species Act. Governor Bullock’s spokesman Dave Parker explains why everyone was so worried about a listing.
"Our fear was that if the feds came in they would basically shut down all development in eastern Montana, which would not be good," Parker said. "We are greatful that they are allowing us to try a Montana-made solution, which both protects the bird and the economy."
Parker credits Governor Bullock’s sage grouse initiatives for helping to keep the greater sage grouse from an official listing.
"Governor Bullock formed the Montana Sage Grouse oversight team, he was able to bring togehter representatives from industry, conservation, ranchers, and a diverse group of stakeholders and say, 'let's work together' to help manage this bird and protect our economy."
In a released statement, Jewell singled out Bullocks’s efforts to restore the sage grouse saying they were “critical.”
Representative Steve Daines also released a statement concerning the sage grouse decision, saying it was "good news" but with a caveat.
“While it is good news that the sage grouse is not listed as an endangered species, I remain concerned that the Obama administration’s land-use plans will have a harmful impact on Montana’s economy, our land users and Montanans’ way of life. The fact remains, sage grouse numbers have increased in the west by nearly two-thirds since 2013. Montana needs to continue take the lead on sage grouse conservation and I hope BLM can revise their plans to allow Montana to do so. Because a sage grouse can’t tell the difference between federal, state and private lands, Montana should take the lead not a bunch of out of Washington, D.C bureaucrats.”
On Monday, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife released a report showing a striking rebound in greater sage grouse numbers, up from a recorded low in 2013.