The Beginning of the End for the Endangered Species Act & species like the Sage-Grouse?
The Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) reports that both the House and Senate have “introduced legislation” that will allow governors to override Federal sage-grouse management plans that were negotiated between the USFWS and several states and replace them with the state’s own plans. The state plans would be much less restrictive concerning threats to the sage-grouse from threats like extractive industries. The proposal would also “not allow the USFWS to reconsider its decision to list the bird under the ESA” for an additional 10 years. Of course, the negotiation between the Federal and state governments resulted in the decision NOT to list the sage-grouse because of the Federal-state agreements. But now, even if sage-grouse population dips greatly, the USFWS will not be able to list it. The inability to list a species takes away the major incentive that any interested party such as oil and gas companies and ranchers to negotiate with the USFWS for protections. For those interested in wildlife conservation, the passage of these bills would be a disaster. The WMI report is available at: https://wildlifemanagement.institute/brief/february-2017/house-votes-stop-blm-planning-rule
More bad news: Brian Palmer on the Audubon website reports that a bill proposed by “Rep. Pete Olson [R-TX], would remove the 12-month deadline for making listing decisions, allowing officials to let petitions fester for years. It would also give the Interior or Commerce Departments the power to reject a listing because of economic fallout.” His article is available at: http://www.audubon.org/news/the-endangered-species-act-under-attack-how-much-trouble-it?ms=digital-eng-email-ea-newsletter-20170216_feb_wingspan&utm_source=ea&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20170216_feb_wingspan
There is lots of evidence that overall the American public supports wildlife conservation but it is not a highly visible issue to the majority. It will be the task of conservation organizations through whatever means including media messages and ads to increase the visibility of this issue and make it a salient issue so that the senators and representatives cannot ignore the views of the majority in favor of the small number of beneficiaries of these anti-conservation moves.
During my research for the book, I noticed that there was no blog available for sharing informaton on wildlife conservation and thus I set up this blog to accomplish this purpose. Please share any informaticoncerning issues related to wildife policy and politics. I welcome feedback from users concerning this blog and website.