Oped: Striking a balance on Sage Grouse

Jan 7th, 2014

How best to protect Montana’s sage grouse population has been a top priority for agriculture and industry groups alike. Finding a solution that sufficiently protects these birds, while not posing an undue burden on those trying to make a living is no easy task. To make the issue even more difficult is the looming threat of Endangered Species Act listing that could result if a sage grouse management plan is not put into place that satisfies the federal government. In short, it is in the best interest of all Montanans to be proactive in preventing the sage grouse from being listed under the ESA.

If the sage grouse is listed as threatened or endangered, both public and private land access and surface activity would be restricted to such a degree that it would pose a serious handicap to job creation in our state. In fact, the harsh and restrictive consequences of the sage grouse being listed would, in many instances, completely shut down resources development operations in Montana, causing a negative ripple effect for the hundreds of businesses that support them and potentially killing thousands of jobs.

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