Correction: In some instances in the below story, the EPA was credited by the author to be the agency overseeing the Endangered Species designation of the Greater-Sage Grouse. This has been changed, and corrected.
A lobbyist for Utah energy interests has recommended that the state defend itself from the Greater Sage-Grouse.
The Greater Sage-Grouse, a bird species native to Utah and much of the West, has often been characterized by conservationists as a species in danger. A century ago, millions of these ornate birds roamed America’s sagebrush. Today, it’s estimated that there are only a few hundred thousand left.
The Sage-Grouse’s dwindling numbers have provoked the question of species protection in recent years. To date, the bird is not an endangered species, but that could change in 2015, when the federal government plans to reassess the well-being of the species.
But according to Utah energy lobbyist Jeff Hartley, the state should be prepared to fight a legal battle with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the Greater Sage-Grouse. What’s Hartley’s suggestion to the Utah legislature? Speaking to the Executive Appropriations Committee last week, he told members to brace themselves for the coming battle with the federal government.