Daines: Sage Grouse Can’t Tell The Difference Between Private, Federal and State Land

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines this week pressed the Obama administration on the impact on private property, state and private land use of federal land requirements due to the checkerboard nature of conservation plans to protect the sage grouse.                                            

During a U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining, Daines questioned the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on the failure to adequately listen to input from Montanans in their planning process in sage grouse conservation.

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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 focused on ensuring that states like Montana take the lead in protecting the sage grouse:

September 22, 2015: DOI announced that the sage grouse would not be listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Daines stated, “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.”

June 4, 2015: Daines introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would protect the ability of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to utilize their training ranges in western states, while also empowering those same states to better manage their wildlife.

May 28, 2015: Daines expressed his deep concerns about the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service’s newly released federal plan to manage the greater sage grouse habitat. 

March 4, 2015: During a Senate Committee on Appropriations hearing on DOI’s 2016 budget request, Daines pressed DOI Secretary Sally Jewell to work more collaboratively with Montana in the conservation and management of the state’s sage grouse population. 

February 24, 2015: During the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on DOI’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016, Daines pressed DOI Secretary Jewell to ensure the state of Montana has primacy in developing and implementing a sage grouse management plan.

February 22, 2015: Daines introduced 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 ESA.

May 22, 2014: Daines introduces the Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act, which would give states the opportunity to take the lead in sage grouse conservation, while balancing the needs of western citizens and their economies.

September 4, 2013: Daines held a U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources hearing in Billings to examine state and local efforts in land management to conserve species and balance responsible resource development and land use.  

August 19, 2013: Daines requested a hearing to examine the potential impacts of actions and listings under the ESA on Montana’s economy and habitat. 

Daines’ efforts to prevent the listing of the sage grouse was applauded by the Montana Farm Bureau, Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Montana Petroleum Association.