The American Farm Bureau Federation, Western Energy Alliance and Public Lands Council have questioned the administration's commitment to job and economic growth in comments submitted to the Bureau of Land Management on greater sage-grouse policies in the West. Montana Farm Bureau has worked with AFBF on the comments, and feels strongly about keeping the sage-grouse off the endangered species list.
"The success of any program hinges on allowing the individuals on the ground to have a voice in developing a plan that protects Sage Grouse and provides for agricultural interests," notes MFBF Vice President of Governmental Affairs John Youngberg. He explains there is nobody better than landowners to keep a species thriving. "Rather than top-down, federal directives, greater sage-grouse conservation must be guided by initiatives developed at the state and local levels to achieve practical and common-sense management policies."
In December 2011, BLM released a short- and long-term conservation strategy for the greater sage-grouse on public lands. BLM intends to update 68 Resource Management Plans by September 2014 before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's court-ordered 2015 deadline for making a decision about whether to fully list the sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act. Fortunately, BLM will allow state sage-grouse conservation policies that have been approved by the USFWS to supersede their policies.
The Big Sky Business Journal
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