The mere threat of sage grouse being listed as threatened is stifling development

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Interior Secretary Sally Jewell came to Nevada earlier this month and told a meeting of Western governors in Las Vegas that her department’s goal is to find ways to protect the greater sage grouse without resorting to listing the bird under the Endangered Species Act.

“We want to create an environment where a listing is not warranted,” Jewell was quoted as saying by the Las Vegas newspaper. “So we’re all working with that common objective. … It truly is epic collaboration. It’s not just the sage grouse that’s at stake. It’s the Western way of life that’s at stake.”
Rep. Mark Amodei had already attached a rider to the congressional spending budget that prohibits for one year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a division of Interior, from listing the sage grouse, thus blocking a federal court decree that required the agency to make a determination by September 2015.

The people who count, the ones who invest their money in developing profitable uses on public and private land in Nevada, aren’t buying it.

Days after Jewell’s speech, the Bureau of Land Management attempted to auction off 97 tracts of federal public land for oil and natural gas drilling leases. The agency received no bids on 96 tracts and only the minimum bid of $2 an acre on a single 473-acre tract in Nye County, according to an Associated Press account. That was before the price of oil tanked.

Patricia LaFramboise, chief of BLM’s minerals adjudication branch, told the AP the main reason oil and gas drillers are balking is concern over the likely listing of the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

“Sage grouse is a huge issue here. We’ve removed a lot of the parcels for sale until the Fish and Wildlife Service makes its decision,” LaFramboise said at the time. “The areas of interest have some serious environmental impacts.”

Instead of leasing 186,000 acres of federal public land from Austin to the Utah border and creating jobs and economic benefits in dozens of rural communities, the land will lie fallow.

It probably did not help that just a few weeks earlier the U.S. Geological Survey came out with a report recommending a buffer zone devoid of most human activity within 3.1 miles of any sage grouse lek, as nesting grounds are called, an area of 30 square miles. The distance was chosen because that is where most of the grouse are located, not because any human activity was proven harmful to the birds. That was presumed.

Neither did it help that in early November Fish and Wildlife listed the Gunnison sage grouse as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, stunning officials in Colorado and Utah who thought there “truly is epic collaboration” with federal officials to protect the bird and they were being successful.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper told the Denver Post the decision was discouraging and that it “complicates our good-faith efforts to work with local stakeholders on locally driven approaches.”

The mere threat of federal listing of greater sage grouse — which seems all the more likely with every action every day — is already stifling economic activity.

Amodei succinctly noted, “I am unaware of the fact-based foundation for Interior’s drawing lines on maps and focusing on human activity when in our part of the country the threats are wildland fire and invasive species. If it is really about the habitat, the preoccupation with 15 percent of the threat while ignoring the other 85 percent is yet another example of forwarding political agendas ahead of dealing with environmental facts and solving the resource problem.”

Congress should repeal the Endangered Species Act currently on the books and start all over with something more reasonable and based on scientific fact instead of speculation and supposition from so-called environmentalists with a herd of stampeding lawyers. — TM

Comments

  1. Josh Wilson says:

    today i wrote a comment opposing BLM’s operating agreement. It is public record so i will post it here. NOTE, that this was not designed to copy so it will be hard to read.

    December 18, 2014
    Bureau of Land Management Arizona Strip, AZ
    Dear BLM officials:
    RE: my comment for the, BLM Uinkaret Mountains Landscape Restoration Project Environmental Impact Statement.
    Please accept this letter with my comments on the above referenced matter.
    I have found MAJOR preliminary issues in the approved plan. I hope to properly present them in this letter. I first want you to know that I value Environmental Balance, It is among the top of my list for priority’s! My love for the Environment is the reason I am commenting! I Now realize that it is the Federal governments thought’s that “the Environmental Global problems Are immanent and that we must act NOW. However, I will only agree that we should not ignore them. I will Acknowledge that we should introduce a management plan for the Public Lands and A separate plan globally As we SHOULD proceed to better prepare the future generations for adaptadaptment. in this process, Lets NOT loose our selfs in implementing GE/GMO (Genetically Engineered / Genetically Modified Organisms ) actions today.(as that is the agenda) First, do Not rush to balance yesterday’s Problem’s for only tomorrows outcome or else everyday after that will be the price paid. -that is my quote…. & you can quote me on that!
    I would like to note that the newly invested powers of the “cooperating agencies and interested partners” originate from (OBAMA’s EO-13653, attached #1)I personally believe this is only A Culture of fear tactic to push political agenda’s in attempt to control the world food markets.
    I oppose this Project because of the depths of the “cooperating agencies and interested partners” and there abilities to impact the community/world for the years to come. I believe there needs to be clarification’s, transparencies, and Public debates and proper communication before action of The “approved plan” that regulates this “restoration project” proceeds’. This is because of the rouge limitations that will be internally controlled by the agencies listed in the management plan.
    I will list the agencies in the “approved plan” and the agencies that have given them the powers. with a QUICK and BRIEF description of my highest concerns. (all information gathered will have links at the bottom of this letter and numbered – # -)
    AHVIS – (which is AHVIS-WS’s head). there strategic plan Outlines there use of GE registered Products (AHVIS strategic plan attached # 3 *READ THIS* )
    APHIS – WS, no where in the “approved plan of the Uinkaret Mountains Landscape Restoration Project” does it say GE are used. (genetically engineered – wild life / plant’s & organisms ) However, It is there strategic plan’s main goal (APHIS-WS strategic plan attached # 2 don’t wait time reading!… read doc #3). However, They clearly state that they know they will make mistakes and managers will not need to report OR need to get approvals in operations or actions and will operate with unlimited regulations.
    USFAW – (which is in house of the DOI and has cooperation from agencies of FDA and USDA ) – my worry’s are the use of genetically engineered crop seeds and the use of pesticides. (Please NOTE) that banding of policy have’s already been done within the USFAW agency before. (inspiring Doc attached # 4) I ALSO, worry about the Ability to use GE Wildlife…. as this it is the newest the technology they are working with.
    USDA – Quote – referring to the GMO agenda – “to expand economic opportunity through innovation, helping rural America thrive; to promote agriculture production sustainability that better nourishes Americans while also helping to feed others throughout the world; and to preserve and conserve our Nation’s natural resources through restored forests, improved watersheds, and healthy private working lands.” I say…. #Who you calling rural?
    BAER – (operates under USDA) – Ability’s to use modified organisms as it could result in altered soil ecology and genetic contamination of natural plants. FDA, USDA, APHIS, APPROVAL OF COMMERCIAL BIOTECHNOLOGY PRODUCTS is because of this 1986 policy – (attached # 5 ) there is also a EO- 13521
    USFWS – Ability to use GE “sterile alien species” in burnt area’s, (strategic plan # Errrr, note- link won’t work, it was http://www.doi.gov/pmb/ppp/gpra.html ) also they have ability to Label endangered species without regulation OR/and designate wild life areas and control the access. (#note that I don’t think NPS does not need to comply)
    AGFD – ( I don’t have time to research but there “about us” on there home page, scare’s the SH*% out of me. (#note – no strategic plan) ALSO NOTE They are in charge of “management action” in the management plan ) – “AGFD brings together persons particularly interested in the chemistry of agricultural and food products, both raw and finished; to foster programs of general papers and symposia on special topics dealing with this field of chemistry; to promote such other activities as will stimulate activity in and emphasize the importance of research in agricultural and food chemistry. AGFD provides quality, timely Symposium at ACS National Meetings. Programs are of interest not only to chemists, but to biochemists, biologists, agronomists, plant physiologists, molecular biologists, agricultural engineers, chemical engineers, material scientists and food scientists.” (http://agfd.sites.acs.org/)
    FAS – “U.S. Regulation of Genetically Modified Crops –
    Regulation of GM crops in the United States is divided among three regulatory agencies: the Environmental Projection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Each of these agencies regulates transgenic crops from a different perspective” ( no strategic plan)
    AZGFD – (these guy could be hero’s & they truly ARE my neighbors ) I Hope see some of these parts of the strategic Plan 20/20 goals get validated (attached # 6 ) ALSO My personal NOTES are ( # ) “The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Mission:To conserve Arizona’s diverse wildlife resources and manage for safe, compatible outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations”.
    Critical Pillars of the Department’s Credibility:
    1. The quality of our workforce. # I know we can from within our community
    2. The quality of our knowledge and the competency of our processes. # american ingenuity
    3. The public’s passion for wildlife. #I have it… so, does my neighbor
    4. The Commission system. # we can make Revenue to pay for our access and management 🙂
    Guiding Principles: from there Strategic plan20/20 (My personal NOTES #)
    Leadership: Having the courage to shape a better future. # only if kept within state OR at least from unregulated federal control. Collaboration: Leveraging partnerships to achieve mutual goals. # with regulated guidelines
    Integrity: Behaving in an ethical manner. # Maybe THIS can be our first Public debate?
    Accountability: Recognizing that individuals are responsible for their actions and inactions. # exactly!
    Fiscal Sustainability: Ensuring agile, long-term funding, while being mindful of our customers and Mission. #We could build this project as A world class showcase Passion: Being committed to our Mission in heart and mind. # we need both involved right now!
    Diversity: Ensuring our programs and workforce reflect Arizona’s diverse demographics, both culturally and the way they interact with wildlife. # please represent Quality: Using credible biological and social science to inform decisions. # we need the truth to show, natural is currently the only way
    Productivity: Being a highly effective, lean and adaptive agency. # I want to believe that this management is capable!
    Community: Recognizing the positive impact our programs have on local economies and way of life. # I personally like Positive impact’s on life!
    Staff: Being a world class agency where people are inspired to be the best they can be. # each person involved will only be inspired if there heart is content about project’s Customer Service: Anticipating and exceeding customer expectations. # lets use facebook and local media to convey message
    Stewardship: Managing wildlife using the North American Model of Wildlife # The Original Version… NOT THE RECENT VERSION
    Conservation; wildlife belongs to all Arizonans, and we take that public trust seriously. # prove it!
    ALSO- I do not believe these AZGFD strategic Plan 20/20 goals was done to full ability in the “Approved Plan” (as far as properly communicating with community and as far as NEPA compliance is concerned)
    PUBLIC INFORMATION
    Issues Affecting Public Information:
    Many Arizonans are unfamiliar with the Department and its mission. In order to accomplish our mission it is imperative for the Department to build public support by promoting awareness and understanding of its activities. The Department uses a variety of communication styles to inform and engage the public.
    Public Information Goals:
    ! Build a well-informed and engaged public that supports wildlife conservation and the Department’s mission.
    ! Foster a diverse constituency that is valued and recognized for their support of the Department.
    ! Ensure the Department is recognized as the credible source for information on wildlife, shooting sports, watercraft and OHVs. Public Information Objectives:
    ! Increase awareness of the Department’s responsibility to manage wildlife.
    ! Increase the number of the Department’s E-News subscriptions.
    ! Increase the number Arizona Wildlife Views subscriptions.
    ! Provide quality, timely information.
    ! Improve communication with under-represented demographic segments.
    ! Encourage diverse participation in outdoor and wildlife-related recreation.
    ! Promote core concepts of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, emphasizing
    the “user-pay, user-benefit” construct which allows wildlife to be managed for the benefit of
    all citizens.
    ! Minimize human-wildlife conflicts.
    Public Information Strategies:
    ! Use all available methods and technologies to communicate with the public.
    I am a peaceful man, with no thought of agenda. Please, do not feel attacked as that is not my intention. However, I must question the possibility’s of the management plan. understand that MY personal comment reflects the beliefs “under god” and that is in who i trust! I come from the ground! So, That make’s the EARTH my mother. MY MOTHER IS MY FAMILY. SO, I believe there is an importance of Natural gender of male or female in wild life / plant’s & organisms. these ARE sacred responsibilities, We must separate goals from action. as religion say’s “WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”
    I could also sum it up with “life is fragile”. REALIZE WE MUST NOT PROCEED WITHOUT FIRST DEBATING AND UNDERSTANDING. I Am certain that we would all benefit from the available spectrum of insight from local and world source’s disclosed publicly and debated publicly. I also believe We could Equally benefit from Communication with all interested party’s through proper media outlets and better use of communication capability’s. This application should be protected by N.E.P.A. if used right, It would help everyone better understand the “Problem’s”! OR I would rather refer to The word “Project’s” I will elaborate. the separate federal agencies will soon be given the newly invested ability’s to implement future actions based on internally gathered, self advised information with out oversight from public. I worry that different stipulations according to individual agency’s and how they interpret there own understanding’s of the environmental balance good enough to factor involvement and together they will protect the Uinkaret with there unregulated Management plan. However, I Personally believe there action’s have the potential to describe briefly, Will “Haunt our home” for many generations to come. I also state These decisions should not to be made freely and unregulated. We must collectively STOP and imagine futures technologies through understanding of natural process’s. Then work within those natural process’s to embellish its natural abilities. Understand that understanding is the key (it say’s it in the glossary under (N.E.P.A) of 1969. (Definition is listed below), It is the only way the ideal results will come. lets not get lost in pushing for a solution, From what we don’t fully understand. It’s my opinion that we will quickly regret these decisions in the near future. I repeat, We must have a better understanding before we proceed. the questionable plan will give them the ability that is simply put, greater then there intelligence. I am sure my neighbor’s would NOT agree with there plan or tactic’s In fact, I challenge you to show me MY neighbor that agrees with this PLAN given proper explanation.
    In short I oppose the approved plan for these reasons;
    – I stand against this risky experiment’s that are flagrant disregard of the legislative process
    – Disrespect of the NEPA rule’s – Use all available methods and technologies to communicate with the public. (I requested the director to use Facebook on 11/12/2014 as they have a page already)
    – Lack of transparency of management plan.
    – My faith states rules for “procreation”. the fullness of salvation will only come with compliance of NATURE’s rules
    – NEPA requires, federal agencies to consider the environmental impacts of proposed major federal actions, which could significantly affect the environment.
    – practical perspective on how the US biotechnology regulatory system presently functions.
    – Ensure that Agency’s involved are verified for compliance of laws (this should be BLM’s ablation)
    – Better models are needed before exceptional events can be reliably linked to global warming.
    – the hazards of GEs to biodiversity.
    – GM crops will intensify corporate monopoly
    – that the APPROVED PLAN did not state any GE references and that it is the true agenda proposed.
    – the approved plan should be RE-labeled “ Genetically Engineered Experimental Plan ” and I will add my own abbreviation “GEEP” Because, I am sick of looking up abbreviations
    – Only because i did not mention ( EO 13514 ) & (EO13521)
    – In enacting NEPA, Congress recognized that nearly all Federal activities affect the environment in some way and mandated that before Federal agencies make decisions, they must consider the
    the effects of their actions on the quality of the human environment. (this should be covered Under NEPA) – future food sovereignty
    – I do not want to be a victim
    LINKS BY #
    #1 (EO-13653) http://www.gpo.gov_fdsys_pkg_FR-2013-11-06_pdf_2013-26785.pdf
    #2 (APHIS-WS strategic plan )http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/downloads/WS_STRATEGIC_PLAN_updated.pdf
    #3 (APHIS strategic plan) http://www.aphis.usda.gov/about_aphis/downloads/APHIS_Strategic_Plan_2015.pdf
    #4 (USFAW-Inspiring action’s) http://www.centerforfoodsafety.com/files/agricultural-practices-in-wildlife-management_20849.pdf
    #5 (Regulation of Biotechnology 1986 policy) http://www.aphis.usda.gov_brs_fedregister_coordinated_framework also, look in to (FDA’s 1992 policy on genetically engineered foods)
    #6 (AZGFD) az Strategic Plan.pdf
    # random important info, http://bayhdolecentral.com/3_DIV_SCAN/B7s095_OCR.pdf and http://elips.doi.gov/elips/0/doc/3999/Page1.aspx
    before we implement action out side of “natural abilities” (abilities from only other natural source’s or extract content’s) public consultation should be procedural. if this comment fails then I hope to relay upon NEPA- 2-3, (actions included…. OFFICERS ULTIMATE HAVE RESPONSIBILITY to – “take into consideration in making decisions concerning such actions”)
    If this fail’s, I pray the constitution prevail’s…. I will leave it at that!
    Thank you for time, Josh Wilson and may god bless our nation.
    FYI, If you want to know where you voice will rank in the priority list… use this chart from (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/downloads/

    WS_STRATEGIC_PLAN_updated.pdf)
    Key Partners “- QUOTE -“
    WS is specifically authorized to enter into cooperative programs with Government agencies, public and private institutions, organizations, and associations, and private citizens to manage conflicts with wildlife. Memoranda of Understanding or other Agreements between WS and other Federal agencies and appropriate State regulatory agencies define and clarify the respective roles and responsibilities of each agency for resolving wildlife conflicts. (note.. these following message is copy/paste)
    Collaborators, partners and stakeholders include the following: • Other APHIS programs
    • Federal agencies
    • State agencies
    • Tribal nations
    • Local and foreign governments
    • International and domestic non-government organizations • Agricultural commodity organizations Industry
    • Individual and groups of research scientists
    • Scientific and professional societies
    • Environmental/conservation organizations
    • U.S. animal and public health laboratories
    • Homeowners and neighborhood associations
    • General public
    • Animal interest groups
    #WHERE DID OUR PRIORITY’s OF A COUNTRY GO WRONG? If you are a civilian understand and KNOW THAT YOUR VOICE is #14 on the list of priority’s…
    #WAKEUP,#makeadifference#Ihopemyfirstdraftcomment11/20isnotwaistingreaderstime….asitmightjustbemyrambling,#passionate,#takeawayyourpowertoexist,#standupforwhatyou wontfallfor,#whathappenedtopeaceandlove?

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