Greater Sage Grouse Avoids Listing

sage_grouse-300Another win for northwest Colorado, as the Interior Department has found that the Greater Sage Grouse does NOT warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Obama Administration says the decision was made in light of the powerful conservation effort being administered by state and local land managers. A listing would have put severe limitations on oil and gas development, public use, and farming and ranching operations. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said yesterday that the conservation effort is the largest in U.S. history, and has reduced threats to the bird on more than 90 percent of its breeding habitat. The push by environmentalists to list the species was just one of several national efforts that were threatening the livelihoods of Northwest Coloradans.  Efforts by local officials, interested parties, and the public have helped to thwart at least three of those efforts; the sage grouse listing, and the lawsuits that threatened to shut down the Trapper and ColoWyo Coal Mines. While local officials say the wins are good to enjoy, today’s decision also ushers in state plans by the BLM and the Forest Service that will lock up large amounts of land in Moffat County. The science behind those plans are being challenged by several counties and the oil and gas industry in court through the Data Quality Control Act.

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