WASHINGTON — Earlier this year, the Department of Interior (DOI) announced its intent to reopen the 2015 Greater Sage-Grouse Management Plan for revision. The DOI is accepting public comments on its decision until Friday, December 1st at the following link: http://bit.ly/2xDP7Jd.
The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) and other stakeholders invested much time, energy, and effort into providing the input and expertise that shaped the original management plan. The collaboration between public and private entities ensured the non-listing of the Greater Sage-Grouse as a threatened or endangered species, preventing costly regulatory burdens from being enacted on ranchers.
USCA recognizes that there are opportunities for improvement within the current management plan, including broad-based grass height standards, roughly-drawn habitat maps and Sagebrush Focal Area restrictions refined for site-specific management. However, scrapping the current framework and starting over from scratch would undercut the countless hours that were spent carving out the 2015 Greater Sage-Grouse Management Plan. Beginning a new regulatory process could take years and millions of taxpayer dollars, all the while leading to more regulatory uncertainty for the fate of the bird and the herd.
The DOI should allow for time to improve the details of the current plan, training of agency personnel to accurately assess stakeholder and resource needs and continued outreach with producers to address the parts of the plan that need improvement. USCA urges all public lands stakeholders to speak up on this issue before we are faced with another regulatory process that could affect our ability to utilize public rangelands and resources. Comments are due by Friday, December 1st and may be submitted at http://bit.ly/2xDP7Jd or emailed directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
—United States Cattlemen’s Association