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Congressman Rob Bishop

Representing the 1st District of Utah

Bishop and Chaffetz Oppose Listing of Gunnison Sage Grouse

November 12, 2014
Press Release
WASHINGTON— Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01) and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (UT-03) joined together to announce their opposition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to list the Gunnison sage grouse as a "Threatened" species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Gunnison sage grouse species is found in Colorado and parts of eastern Utah.

In May 2014, the D.C. District Court granted a six-month extension of the deadline for final determination on whether to list the Gunnison sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act.  The Gunnison sage grouse has been the subject of a long-term battle waged by conservation groups wanting to curb use and development of public lands where Gunnison populations can be found. It is widely known that the Gunnison's ESA listing would heavily restrict oil and gas development as well as ranching and recreation on 1.7 million acres of federal land located in Utah and Colorado. Congressman Bishop and Congressman Chaffetz remain concerned that the science used as justification for the listing lacks credibility and that the administration is yet again capitulating to special interest groups.

"States, local governments, and public land users are working collaboratively to restore the Gunnison sage grouse populations and progress continues to be made. Restoration of the species is not something that can fully be measured overnight and it's premature to supersede state and local actions with an ESA listing. Based on the federal government's track record of ESA recovery, I'd say that listing this bird is not the panacea. This is yet another case of the federal government thinking it is smarter and more capable than the states and communities, a notion I flatly reject," said Congressman Bishop, Chairman of the House Natural Resources Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee.  

"Wildlife management needs to be handled at the state and local level. That's where the rubber meets the road. Local land-users are better equipped to develop management plans that both maintain and improve the health of wildlife and local habitat.  It is disappointing that the federal government is undercutting local efforts in San Juan County by imposing this listing that will have a big impact on local communities in southeast Utah," said Congressman Chaffetz, whose district includes San Juan County, where Gunnison sage grouse habitat has been identified.