Sage-Grouse Measure Has No Place in Defense Bill, Say Sportsmen

As House weighs massive defense spending bill, hunters call for removal of language preventing grouse conservation

Sage-Grouse Habitat Restoration Project
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Washington, DC -( As House members met today to vote on a massive defense spending package, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers roundly condemned a rider in the bill that would block activities aimed at conserving populations of the greater sage-grouse, currently a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Rep. Rob Bishop introduced the measure, which would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from moving forward with efforts to conserve the grouse, in the National Defense Authorization Act. The House Armed Services Committee considered the legislation this afternoon.

BHA, a sportsmen’s group actively engaged in preventing the sage-grouse’s listing under the ESA, criticized Bishop’s provision and questioned its relevance to the NDAA.

“Representative Bishop’s rider would undo years of collaborative efforts among the federal government, Western states, landowners, ranchers, sportsmen and a range of other stakeholders to sustain populations of the grouse and the sagebrush ecosystems so important to fish and game, sportsmen and our economy,” said BHA Executive Director Land Tawney.

The sportsman noted that the sagebrush steppe provides habitat for more than 350 species of fish and wildlife, including mule deer, elk and pronghorn. Efforts at conserving sage-grouse and their habitat have drawn widespread support from sportsmen’s groups, not just because of the grouse but because of other obligate species as well.

“For the congressman to label this consensus-based approach as representing an extreme environmentalist agenda is ludicrous,” stated Tawney. “Time and time again, Americans have gone on record in support of our public lands, wildlife and outdoors way of life. These values are central not only to our economic security but also our national identity.”

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the sportsmen’s voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

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