Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement calling on U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to keep sage grouse protections in place, in light of a recently released DOI-BLM scoping report that appears to have undercounted more than 100,000 public comments against policy changes that may trigger an Endangered Species Act (ESA) finding.
“Based on DOI’s recently released report, it appears that Secretary Zinke has ignored the plea of thousands of Westerners who disagree with the Trump administration’s plan to undo the 2015 sage-grouse conservation plan. Nevadans have made it clear that there is no justifiable reason for Secretary Zinke to make policy changes that would result in harming the sage-grouse ecosystem.
“Conservation efforts to protect the sage-grouse habitat have successfully kept these rare, beautiful animals off the endangered species list. The 2015 consensus-based agreement enhances protections and lays the groundwork for a conservation strategy that includes insight from Western states and stakeholders on the best way to manage and implement policies that will further protect the declining sage-grouse population. I urge Secretary Zinke to listen to state and local leaders, act on behalf of Nevadans, and refuse any plan that undermines sage-grouse protections we have in place.”