Date: 6/3/18 12:05 pm
From: Edge Wade <edgew...>
Subject: Conservation issues beyond Missouri--Greater Sage Grouse
From the Birding Community E-Bulletin, June, 2018:

Once again, certain politicians are trying to use legislation that funds the U.S. military to prevent conservation of Greater Sage-Grouse. Unfortunately, it seems that just about every spring this issue comes up , and we've explored it before, in May 2016, for example:

Typically, an attempt is made to add language to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDDA) through the House Armed Services Committee under the premise that a possible sage-grouse listing under the Endangered Species Act would undermine national security.

And this is exactly what happened in the House last month, with the 9 May markup hearing for the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 5515). Congressman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) submitted and got passed an amendment that would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from listing the Greater Sage-Grouse under the Endangered Species Act for 10 years and preclude judicial review. In a harmful and creative twist, the imperiled Lesser Prairie-Chicken was also tossed into the mix in the amendment.

Bishop has attempted to add similar provisions to two previous versions of the defense bill, but these did not make it into the final bills under consideration after being removed during conference committee with the Senate's version of the legislation.

Because some politicians cannot get their anti-grouse legislation passed through the normal committees and bills, they are using a false narrative on the impact of grouse conservation to attach riders to the urgent and "must-pass" NDAA. Previous NDAA attempts concerning Greater Sage-Grouse have been defeated, primarily because Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) felt that the defense authorization should not be used as a tool for special interests on non-military/defense issues. Now with Senator McCain gravely ill and taking a leave from the Senate, a few members of Congress are taking the opportunity to advance the grouse-rider.

Right now, the Senate does not have its own defense bill language. Differences that might exist between the bills passed by both chambers would have to be reconciled before heading to the president's desk. Nonetheless, this issue could lead to delays in passing the NDAA which could have an unforeseen impact on the military.

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An Audubon Action Alert about the Greater Sage Grouse issue may be found at:

Edge Wade
ASM Conservation Partnership Coordinator

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