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Simpson Defends Western Priorities to Appropriations Committee

House committee marks up Interior bill that reflects Simpson’s influence on the committee, looks after western interests

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Washington, July 15, 2014 | comments

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today defended western priorities in the House Interior and Environment Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2015.  Simpson, a member of the subcommittee, authored a number of provisions that were included in the bill, including language delaying the decision to list the sage-grouse as an endangered species by one year.  Simpson successfully fought off efforts to strike this language during full committee consideration today.

“What we’re trying to say [with this language] is to give us the time to do the work that is necessary [to prevent the need for a listing].” Simpson said during the markup.  “States like Idaho have been working diligently with the BLM and the Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a plan to preserve sage-grouse habitat.  Do you know what the biggest threat to it is?  Wildfire.  Do you know what one of the things is that prevents those rangeland fires from spreading?  Grazing.  So there are some conflicts that go on here, and…the states and the federal government together are working hard to develop state management plans that [they can both] support.  They just need the time to do it.”

This is complicated, and the states and the federal government are working together to find plans they can both support—they just need the time to do it.”

After the markup was complete, Simpson added, “A decision to list sage-grouse as an endangered species would have wide-reaching and devastating impacts on states like Idaho, and even stakeholders who have been at the table since the beginning of this process, like those in Idaho, are concerned that the court-imposed listing deadline has resulted in less collaboration and rushed decisions.  They have acknowledged to me that they need more time to do the good work that will prevent a listing.  This is why I once again authored a one-year delay in this bill.”

The bill also reflected Simpson’s influence in a number of other provisions, including full funding of wildfire suppression at the 10-year average, provisions improving the grazing permit process, and language prohibited the EPA from implementing controversial regulations over U.S. waters.  The bill was voted out of committee this afternoon.

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