Gov. Herbert pens letter to encourage states’ authority to conserve greater sage grouse

SALT LAKE CITY – (June 11, 2015) Gov. Gary R. Herbert expressed his gratitude to the Utah federal delegation to thank them for their efforts to pass a Congressional bill reaffirming the authority of Utah, and other western states to create and implement a robust conservation measure for the greater sage grouse through its range in the West.

The listing of the greater sage grouse and the Obama Administration’s land-use plan are critical issues for Utah. It affects eight million acres including key military installations in the state, billions in economic productivity, hundreds of millions in education funding, and critical conservation programs for sage grouse and other species in Utah.

The pending Lee/Heller/Inhofe Amendment to the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 would provide the states the necessary time to execute their locally-generated plans for the conservation of the greater sage-grouse before requiring a decision on the listing of the species. The language included in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016, sponsored by House Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop also meets this requirement.

Utah has prepared, and is implementing, a strong Conservation Plan for greater sage grouse, and the conservation solutions created by Utah are demonstrating positive results. The proposed legislation is the best solution for the conservation of greater sage grouse in the state of Utah, and allows other states to choose the best path forward for them, based upon local ecological conditions. The state of Utah will continue to work closely with the federal delegation to collaborate on this issue.

Full text of the letter is available here.