Daines Statement on Department of Interior’s Sage Grouse Announcement

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Steve Daines today released the following statement on the Department of the Interior’s sage grouse announcement: 

“While it is good news that the sage grouse is not listed as an endangered species, I remain concerned that the Obama administration’s land-use plans will have a harmful impact on Montana’s economy, our land users and Montanans’ way of life. The fact remains, sage grouse numbers have increased in the west by nearly two-thirds since 2013. Montana needs to continue take the lead on sage grouse conservation and I hope BLM can revise their plans to allow Montana to do so. Because a sage grouse can’t tell the difference between federal, state and private lands, Montana should take the lead not a bunch of out of Washington, D.C bureaucrats.” 

Daines’ efforts to prevent the listing of the sage grouse was applauded across Montana:

Dave Galt, Executive Director of Montana Petroleum Association: “We are very pleased with the Department of Interior that the Greater Sage Grouse is ‘unwarranted’ for a listing under the Endangered Species Act. We look forward to working with the BLM to bring their land use plans into alignment with Montana’s Sage Grouse Conservation plan. We’ll continue to work to ensure Montana’s plan is up and running on January 1, 2016. Thanks Senator Daines for his continued support of Montana’s state plan; he understands that those who live and work closest to the land know best how to manage it.”

Errol Rice, Executive Vice President, Montana Stockgrowers Association: “While the Stockgrowers are pleased with the Department of the Interior’s decision to not list the sage grouse, we remain concerned about BLM’s Resource Management Plans and their impact on Montana and its ability to effectively manage its land. Montana, not Washington, D.C., should take the lead in managing the state’s sage grouse habitat. The Stockgrowers thank Senator Daines for his continued efforts to protect Montana’s ranchers from this unnecessary listing.” 

Nicole Rolf, Montana Farm Bureau Director of National Affairs: “The recent decision by the Department of the Interior to consider the listing of sage grouse as ‘not warranted’ is welcomed by the Montana Farm Bureau Federation. The ability of Montana farmers and ranchers across the state to make a living would have been devastated by such a decision. MFBF appreciates Senator Daines’ work on preventing the listing and advocating for a state-led approach when it comes to sage grouse conservation.”

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 the greater sage-grouse conservation while preventing a listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

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. 

Video of Daines’ statement is available to download here.