Gunnison Sage Grouse Listed as Threatened

sage_grouse-300The Federal Government is going against the will of individual states, when it comes to listing sage grouse as threatened. That’s according to Governor Hickenlooper’s point man on sage grouse, John Swartout. Swartout says yesterday’s decision to list the Gunnison Sage Grouse as threatened means that control of the species goes from the state, to the federal government. The decision was made despite last-minute attempts to postpone it. About 1.4 million acres in Colorado and Utah will be designated as the species’ critical habitat. The ruling also means that the bird will be listed with no qualifying goals to reach, that would end the listing. Officials from Moffat County, and other areas of the Western Slope believe the decision is a precursor to a listing for the Greater Sage Grouse, found in 11 states including Colorado. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Dan Ashe has said that if the Greater Sage Grouse were listed, all states would have to reach the Service’s goals before it could be delisted. It can not be delisted in any one state. But Moffat County officials say that hardly matters, as there are no goals in place for delisting. Some say that alone proves the Federal government is more interested in keeping oil and gas companies off of certain lands, than they are about preserving the species, which has been thriving in Colorado and Wyoming, due to state protection and conservation programs. Congressmen Scott Tipton and Cory Gardner, and the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association have issued statements blasting the Fish and Wildlife Service for ignoring science, and favoring bureaucrats in making their decision. Colorado plans to fight the listing in court, and will join several other states in suing the federal government if the Greater Sage Grouse is also listed.

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