Western Caucus Members Secure Long-Standing Sage-Grouse Provision
Policy empowers state & local conservation efforts to protect species populations
Washington, March 9, 2022 | Elizabeth Daniels (202-280-8720)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressional Western Caucus Members applauded the inclusion of a long-standing greater sage-grouse provision in the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus package. The provision prohibits funds being used to enact federal listing of the greater sage-grouse, thereby empowering state and local species managers to continue protecting sage-grouse populations in communities across the West.
“Rural communities across the West should celebrate the inclusion of this long-standing provision,” said Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04). “A federal listing of the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act would have grave implications for western communities and would impede upon voluntary, locally-led species conservation efforts that are currently underway. Western Caucus Members have strongly supported this progress which has been spearheaded by states and local communities, and we are proud to see our policy included in the final package. I want to thank Appropriations Ranking Member Granger and Interior Appropriations Ranking Member Joyce for their strong advocacy on behalf of this Western Caucus priority.”
“I have fought long and hard against an ESA listing for sage-grouse, so I was pleased to see the provision that prevents it once-again included in the Omnibus,” said Rep. Mike Simpson (ID-02). “Despite extensive input from stakeholders and the development of state-managed conservation plans, this has been the subject of cyclical litigation and listing determinations for years. The threat of an ESA listing undermines the collaborative work between local stakeholders and federal partners, and threatens the livelihoods of those who live, work, and recreate on lands in Idaho and across the west. I have long-advocated against an ESA listing for the greater sage-grouse and will continue to urge my colleagues in Congress to recognize the importance of this issue.”
“The sage-grouse is a unique species to western states, and that’s who should be in charge of their conservation,” said Vice Chair Doug LaMalfa (CA-01).“State conservation plans are created with extensive input from scientists, conservationists, federal officials, and local industry leaders; tailored to address the specific needs of their individual landscapes. Placing the sage-grouse into the one-size-fits-all federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) list would only harm their conservation. By listing the sage-grouse under the ESA, we in turn place greater restrictions on removing invasive grasses, such as cheatgrass, from their habitats. Additionally, scientific review has found that drought and wildfires have done great damage to their habitats and have made them more vulnerable to predation; these issues need to be addressed, but they aren’t man-made and can’t be fixed by listing them on the ESA. I was pleased to see that the Omnibus package prohibited funding from being used to list sage-grouse under the ESA."
“I’m happy to see provisions to prohibit listing sage-grouse populations under the Endangered Species Act are included in this year’s omnibus package,” said Rep. Matt Rosendale (MT-AL). “Montana has done fantastic work protecting and restoring populations of the Greater Sage-Grouse, and I am thankful we can continue to do so at the state level, without federal government overreach and without destroying the livelihoods of our farmers, ranchers, and energy producers.”
Chairman Newhouse, Rep. Simpson, and Vice Chair LaMalfa submitted the sage-grouse provision as an amendment to the FY22 Appropriations package. Democrats rejected the amendment, but it was ultimately included in the FY22 Omnibus.
In November 2021, Rep. Simpson led a bicameral letter to House and Senate leadership requesting support for the ESA listing prohibition in the FY22 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. Read the letter here.
In December 2021, Chairman Newhouse, Rep. Simpson, and Vice Chair Bruce Westerman (WA-04) led Western Caucus Members in calling on the Administration to empower locally-led sage-grouse conservation efforts and hold public meetings in all of the states impacted by sage-grouse land management plans. Click here to learn more.
In February 2022, Chairman Dan Newhouse and Vice Chair Westerman led 23 Members in sending a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland urging an extension of the public comment period for the ongoing greater sage-grouse scoping process in order to increase participation from states, local governments, tribes, and stakeholders. Read more.