cresent-hardy-portrt-239x300Congressman Cresent Hardy (NV-04) released the following statement after learning of the U.S. Department of Interior’s decision to finalize its land use plans for the greater sage-grouse:

“I was very disappointed to learn of the Department of Interior’s decision to aggressively advance an agenda that puts the interests of a small contingent of environmental extremists over those of rural Nevada’s hardworking families. The Department’s announcement confirms this was never fully about protecting any particular species.

This is yet another stark reminder of the challenges Western states like Nevada face when the federal government controls so much of the land within our borders. Despite controlling 84 percent of the greater-sage grouse’s range in our state, the federal government has chosen to punish our communities for its own mismanagement by severely restricting every Nevadan’s access to our public lands. Without access to traditional land uses in Nevada – mineral exploration, energy extraction, and ranching – states like Nevada wouldn’t be what they are today. This policy not only disregards our historic way of life, but it also threatens the local economies of some of the hardest hit areas from the Great Recession.

I encourage our federal land management agencies to focus the same amount of energy and attention on solving the very real threats to sage-brush habitat, like wildfires and invasive species that continue to ravage the West.”