Westerners Fight Proposed Federal Takeover of Sage Grouse Conservation Efforts - Task Force Draws the Line
The group, known as the Sage Grouse Conservation Task Force, is hoping to convince the federal government to allow the states to manage conservation efforts.
"The absolute worst thing we could do is subject the bird to the regulatory straight jacket of the Endangered Species Act," said Jim Sims, coordinator of the Task Force. "This law has proved to be nearly a total failure at its mission, which is to restore species to health."
Sims noted that an ESA listing perversely discourages active conservation measures. "These fringe activists really want to use this law to take away private property, run farmers off their land, stop all natural resource development, raise energy prices and turn back the clock on progress in the West," he said.
Westerners Fight Proposed Federal Takeover of Sage Grouse Conservation Efforts
DENVER, CO – A rapidly growing coalition of Westerners is fighting efforts by some environmental groups to impose the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on a species of bird known as the Greater Sage Grouse because such a listing is likely to harm bird populations.
The Sage Grouse Conservation Task Force -- comprised of leaders from agriculture, conservation, energy production, mining, forest products, outdoor recreation, construction, and state and local officials -- is working to convince federal officials to allow Western states to continue to lead sage grouse conservation efforts, rather than impose the ESA on the bird.
“If science shows that sage grouse is truly on the verge of extinction, then the absolute worst thing we could do is subject the bird to the regulatory straightjacket of the Endangered Species Act,” said Jim Sims, coordinator of the Task Force.
“This law has proved to be nearly a total failure at its mission, which is to restore species to health,” Sims said. “In the 30 years since it was enacted, ESA has notched a 99 percent failure rate at recovering species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s own data shows that only 12 of the law’s roughly 1,300 protected species have recovered. That is a success rate of less than .01 percent.
“This law is like a doctor who is so bad he puts 99 out of 100 patients in the hospital but never gets them healthy enough to check out and go home,” Sims said. “I sure wouldn’t subject my kids to this kind of medicine.
“Those who want to see a federal takeover of state and local conservation efforts don’t really care about the sage grouse as a species. If they did, they would be fighting for an ESA listing, which perversely discourages active conservation measures,” Sims said. “These fringe activists really want to use this law to take away private property, run farmers off their land, stop all natural resource development, raise energy prices and turn back the clock on progress in the West.
“In fact, some of these extremists even went so far this week as to publish an internal science and biology assessment of the sage grouse, produced by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, that is still in the midst of a double-blind peer review prior to its submission to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This is a serious breach of protocol and shows that many of these groups don’t really care about conserving this species, only locking away land the West from its people.”
Sims said that the Task Force is working on several tracks to ensure that state and local officials continue to lead conservation efforts for the sage grouse, including the following:
The Task Force was organized and is coordinated by the Partnership for the West (http://www.partnershipforthewest.org/about.asp), an alliance of more than 375 companies, associations, coalitions and individuals who collectively employ or represent more than one million citizens across America in the following sectors: farm/ranching, coal, timber/wood products, small businesses, utilities, hard rock mining, oil and gas, construction, manufacturing, property rights advocates, education proponents, recreational access advocates, county government advocates, local, state and federal elected officials, grassroots advocates and others.
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