WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller and Representative Mark Amodei (NV-2) today met with top officials from the U.S. Department of the Interior to discuss actions that can be taken to help prevent the Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing of the sage grouse, as well as the negative impact such a listing would have on the economic growth and development of the Silver State. The “Sage Hen Summit” featured key federal land managers and policy makers from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Representative Dina Titus (NV-1) was able to join for the conclusion of the meeting. And Representatives Joe Heck (NV-3) and Steven Horsford (NV-4) were unable to attend, but did send staff.
“Conservation and restoration of sagebrush habitat in Nevada and throughout the West is vital to maintaining healthy sage grouse populations and thwarting a threatened or endangered listing that will negatively affect Nevadans and our rural economies,” said Senator Harry Reid. “I look forward to working with the Nevada Congressional delegation, our Federal and State agencies, and Nevadans to solve this critical issue.”
“Should the sage grouse be listed as an endangered species, Nevada’s way of life and our state’s economic recovery will be in jeopardy. I am committed to working with Governor Sandoval and the rest of the delegation to take steps on the federal level that complement and reinforce strategies developed in the state to prevent such a listing,” said Senator Dean Heller. “Collaboration is an important part of our efforts, and today’s meeting helps move us closer to the goal of protecting the building blocks of Nevada’s economy.”
“In Nevada, wildland fire and invasive species, such as cheat grass, that follow in its path are responsible for nearly 85 percent of lost sage hen habitat,” said Rep. Mark Amodei. “Rather than putting the onus on local stakeholders through regulatory mechanisms to stop habitat loss, the federal government, as the landlord of approximately 85 percent of the state, needs to focus on preventative fuels management before wildfire strikes and habitat restoration following burn events. Multiple use is not the driver of habitat loss.”
“Preserving sage grouse habitat and keeping it off the endangered species list is of critical importance to the long-term economic and environmental health of Nevada,” said Rep. Joe Heck. “State and local governments in Nevada are tirelessly working to prevent a negative outcome on this decision, and I am hopeful that today’s briefing will encourage the U.S. Department of the Interior to better coordinate with our state as we work to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome for all stakeholders.”
“Listing the sage grouse as an endangered species would have widespread implications for future land use and significantly impact economic development across Nevada,” said Rep. Dina Titus. “I’m hopeful that state and local officials will continue to collaborate on this important issue and find a solution that conserves sage grouse habitat and prevents the species’ designation as endangered.”
# # #