Letter to the Editor: Delayed ruling on sage grouse doesn’t help anyone

Dear Editor:
Sportsmen’s groups are deeply concerned that a motion to strike a rider added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which will delay the September 2015 listing decision for sage-grouse by 10 years, has been defeated. The rider, introduced by Utah Representative Rob Bishop, is non-germane to the rest of the Act, and sportsmen believe the proposed legislation will actually hurt sage-grouse conservation efforts by undermining the current planning process—a collaboration of historic proportions between the states and federal agencies.

The motion to strike the rider from this bill was defeated on nearly partisan lines in a 36-26 vote today.
The 10-year delay of a listing decision will remain in effect without regard to any other statute, regulation, court order, legal settlement, or provision of law. The proposed legislation also represents an unprecedented shift of management responsibility to the states for federal land management. It would erode the implementation of bedrock conservation statutes—such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and others.
As you plan your coverage of this topic, please consider using the following quotes from sportsmen’s groups, who oppose the delay of a listing decision and this back-door attack on the management of public lands. Below you’ll also find the TRCP’s recent press release on other harmful sage-grouse bills introduced in Congress last week.
“Sportsmen across the country are extremely disappointed with the vote in the House Armed Services Committee who, by failing to strike this language from the National Defense Authorization Act, have thrown into question decades of statutory precedent, scores of environmental laws, and subsequent legal decisions around those laws,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “We look forward to working with the Senate to ensure that the provision to delay a sage-grouse listing decision is kept out of their version of the legislation, so as not to undermine collaborative conservation efforts for the species or hurt military readiness by imperiling the swift authorization of this important defense policy.”
“The eleven western states have already made historic progress in their cooperation and planning efforts to thwart a listing of the range-wide population of greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act, a result that was achieved on April 21 for the bi-state population of sage-grouse in California and Nevada,” says Howard Vincent, president and CEO of Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever. “We don’t need federal legislation interfering with what we believe can be a positive outcome in September.”
Please let me know if I can answer any questions.
Kristyn Brady
Media Relations Director 

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership