AGNC requests action on sage grouse report

RBC I Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado (AGNC) chairman Mike Samson, acting on behalf of the five-county membership, has written to Colorado Governor Hickenlooper asking for immediate assistance regarding the damaging impact that will result if the BLM adopts the National Technical Team’s (NTT) report. The report is considered by many as the extreme alternative in the National Environmental Policy Act process as compared to other conservation-orientated and incentive-based management tools. The NTT report would “work a disruptive and long term punishing impact to the 11-state greater sage grouse habitat area. The NTT report is divisive, extreme and harms our local Colorado economies and historic multiple uses of BLM public land,” Samson said.
The governor’s office has participated in the joint county discussions, and because of the leverage provided by the governor’s leadership and positive standing it is felt his involvement is even more critical. His leadership will help to assure an adequate unbiased range of alternatives be considered
In the BLM planning process. AGNC and others are deeply concerned that without strong oversight, through the governor’s participation that the BLM will only make slight modifications while leaving in place the underlying punitive measures.
“There are no two ways about it — the NTT report is the extreme grouse conservation alternative and the impacts to our multiple use communities (ranching, farming, energy, recreation, etc.) require us to take aggressive action” say both Samson (Garfield County commissioner) and vice-chairman Doug Monger (Routt County commissioner). The counties of AGNC, along with many other-groups, believe the focus should be on incentive-based approaches to provide assurances to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service.
The letter to the governor points out that because the sage grouse habitat is connected between private lands, state lands and federal lands, the federal/private/state nexus is inseparable. Thus, it is critical that the adverse and long term impacts not be ignored as they will be under the NTT approach.
The average Colorado citizen living in the sage grouse habitat has no idea of the future negative restrictions that would occur should the NTT report or a dressed-up duplicate of it be placed into effect. “Our job as AGNC, representing our five-county region, is to bring this to the forefront now and to recruit assistance from the governor’s office in order to avoid the significant negative impacts that would result from BLM’s adoption of the NTT report in any form.”