Daines Works to Prioritize State Based Sage Grouse Conservation Plans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Steve Daines today helped introduce legislation that prioritizes state-created conservation and management plans for the recovery of the Sage Grouse.

Daines is an original cosponsor of S. 1036, the Sage-Grouse Protection and Conservation Act, which would require the Department of the Interior to share scientific data with states, assist states in crafting and implementing their plans, and recognize the state plans for a minimum of six years. The Act empowers states to take the lead in Sage Grouse conservation while preventing a listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

“Montana is best equipped to manage and protect our state’s resources and wildlife, while protecting our economy and jobs,” Daines stated. “Sage Grouse cannot tell the difference between federal, state and private land and efforts to protect it can’t be dealt with in a checkerboard-like fashion. We need to empower Montanans to find solutions that best fit our state’s needs, not Washington, D.C. bureaucrats.”

Sage grouse habitat encompasses 186 million acres of federal and private land across 11 states, including Montana. The listing of Sage Grouse under the ESA would have severe repercussions on domestic energy and agriculture production. Additionally, misguided federal actions could impact livestock and outdoor recreation industries, both of which are critical to the economy and way of life in Montana.

Daines has long been involved in efforts to balance Sage Grouse conservation with protecting Montana jobs. Last Congress, Daines cosponsored H.R. 4716, the Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act, which would have prevented the Sage Grouse from being listed under the ESA for 10 years and allow states to develop and implement their own conservation management plans that meet their unique needs.

Additionally, in September 2013 Daines held a House Natural Resources Committee hearing in Billings to examine state and local efforts in land management to conserve species and balance responsible resource development and land use last September.