Amodei: Sec. Jewell's ‘political attacks' disrespect West, attempt to shift Sage Hen habitat responsibility

Today, Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-2) responded to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell’s statement regarding a rider in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 delaying for one year the potential Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing of the Sage Hen. He released the following statement:

CARSON CITY, NEV. – Today, Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-2) responded to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell’s statement regarding a rider in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 delaying for one year the potential Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing of the Sage Hen. He released the following statement:

“After nearly two years on the job, I am pleased Secretary Jewell is now ready to engage on the issue of the Sage Hen. I want to welcome her to the discussion. Back in March, in explaining why Interior had once again failed to submit a meaningful budget request for habitat conservation, Secretary Jewell testified to the Interior Appropriations Committee that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) needed time to finalize its 98 resource management plans (RMPs) across 11 Western states encompassing more than 186 million acres of habitat. At the time, she indicated no appreciation for the fact that the vast majority of those RMPs would not be completed until after the decision to list the Sage Hen was made. Nine months later, I find it perplexing she has become incredibly comfortable criticizing Republicans and Democrats in Congress for providing precisely what she said was needed: one last chance for her to show some leadership and request funding to fulfill Interior’s habitat responsibilities as the majority land owner in the West.

“I find Secretary Jewell’s criticism all the more interesting since her boss signed the appropriations bill in record time. I am still looking for her indignant opposition to the one-year delay when the provision was transparently and fully discussed before the House Appropriations Committee months ago. The resort to shallow political attacks does not hide the fact Ms. Jewell’s department chose, through budgetary inaction, not to make any attempt to avoid an endangered species listing. This is all the more insidious, since the habitat owner, BLM, and the Endangered Species Act Administrator, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, both work under Secretary Jewell’s supervision. So, in effect, on this issue, the Secretary would apparently like to simultaneously perform the roles of judge, jury and prosecutor and shame on the U.S. Congress and the President for passing a bill, which does not allow her to do that.

“I look forward to an in depth discussion on the issue to start the 114th Congress, instead of CYA news releases issued when nobody is in town. I hope, after further consideration, Secretary Jewell does not believe this sort of incendiary communication strategy is the way to work on the habitat loss and fragmentation issues. There are a lot of great people working very hard on the Sage Hen issue in the West and Interior needs to show some respect to them instead of defaulting to tired political agendas.

“If the Sage Hen listing is all about habitat and habitat health, then an on the ground, well-founded funding commitment by Interior would seem to be a necessity and that is where the focus should be. Unless they would prefer an ESA listing to hide behind in an attempt to further erode multiple use in the West.”

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