Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today supported passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY16, which includes a provision delaying the listing of the greater sage-grouse as an endangered species. Simpson supported language included in NDAA that would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from listing the bird for ten years, giving adequate time for effective state management plans to be developed and put into effect. The bill passed 269-151.
“Given the impact that a decision to list sage-grouse would have on Idaho, it is imperative that we get it right. That means working closely with state and local officials to develop management plans based on sound science,” Simpson said. “Unfortunately, there is growing concern that the BLM and Fish and Wildlife Service are ignoring state input and moving forward with new management plans that are based on a fear of being sued. At the beginning of this process, the states were invited to partner with the federal government. But today, with just weeks left before the new management plans are to be revealed, they feel they’ve been locked out of the process. This language makes sure that state voices are heard in sage-grouse management and conservation efforts.”
The language in the NDAA bill would prevent the sage-grouse from being listed for ten years and put state-approved management plans into place for at least five years. Simpson has cosponsored similar legislation to ensure that states have an integral role in sage-grouse management. He authored language to delay the listing decision for one year that was included in the Omnibus Appropriations Act for FY15.
“It is worth noting that the deadline for a sage-grouse listing decision was imposed by the courts, not based on science,” said Simpson. “It is far better to take enough time to make a sound scientific decision rooted in collaboration than to make a rushed decision based on an arbitrary deadline.”