GOP Bill Blocks Federal Sage Grouse Protections From Interfering With Military Operations For A Decade


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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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House Republicans are looking to ban the greater sage grouse from receiving federal protections for a decade through a provision on a defense reauthorization bill, The Washington Post reports.

The greater sage grouse habitat spans 165 million acres across 11 states. Listing the bird under the Endangered Species Act would affect thousands of landowners and businesses, as well as potentially interfering with some actions of the military. GOP Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah introduced the amendment. (RELATED: Report: The Endangered Species Act Doesn’t Work Because It Hammers Landowners With Draconian Regs)

Democrats and opponents to the provision say the rider is inappropriate for a National Defense Authorization Act reauthorization bill. The sage grouse is not important, or related, to national security and military operations, critics say, according to WaPo.

“You can’t argue with facts clearly documented by the service branches,” Bishop spokeswoman Kristina Baum told WaPo. “This will impact training and readiness, and Congress has an obligation to finally address the threat through the NDAA.”

Congress and the Trump administration are working to reform the Endangered Species Act and improve its efficiency at helping species recover while rolling back the impact its regulations have on land managers and business.

The Department of the Interior and Department of Commerce released proposed revisions to how the ESA is implemented. One revision incorporates economic and commercial considerations into ESA impact studies. (RELATED: Trump Is Finally Bringing Balance To A Law That Strangles Industry In The Name Of Conservation)

“These regulations are the heart of how the Endangered Species Act is implemented. Imperiled species depend on them for their very lives,” Defenders of Wildlife president and chief director Jamie Rappaport Clark told The Washington Post about the revisions.

Bishop joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to announce a series of nine bills reforming the ESA July 12. The bills focus on empowering state and local officials and researchers in the determination process over whether a species needs federal protection to survive. (RELATED: Law Meant To Protect Species From Extinction Is ‘The Most Inept Program’ In Government, Rep. Rob Bishop Says)

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