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Greg Martin Sage Grouse Issues
by Greg Martin, click here for bio

Program: Colorado Ag Today
Date: February 12, 2015

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Sage Grouse Issues. I’m Greg Martin with Lacy Gray with Colorado Ag Today.

Like so many places in the west the sage grouse is causing it’s own unique problems for farmers and ranchers. Not the bird itself but the protected status that the U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Department of the Interior have placed.

GRAY: The Colorado Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit against those two entities arguing that listing the bird as threatened was unwarranted due to failure to use the best available science, consideration of conservation efforts by landowners and state and local governments and a study of the economic effects of the designation.

MARTIN: Basically all western states from Colorado to California have an affected population of sage grouse that under a protected species umbrella would cause problems for cattle producers and crop farmers as well. As it stands now the birds were listed as threatened back in November but some environmental groups also have sued, saying threatened status is too weak and the birds should be considered endangered, which carries stronger protections.

GRAY: That federal protection would not only affect ag operations but oil and gas wells. Utah has joined the fight as well as Gov. Gary Herbert on Tuesday issued an executive order protesting the proposed federal listing of the greater sage grouse which would ensure that Utah’s state agencies do their part to prevent an endangered species listing.

MARTIN: U.S. Fish & Wildlife has until September of this year to make their listing determination.

And that’s Colorado Ag Today. I’m Greg Martin, thanks for listening on the Ag Information Network of the West.

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