Vice-Chairwoman Lauren Boebert joined Chairman of the Western Caucus Dan Newhouse, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources Bruce Westerman, and 20 additional Members of Congress in sending a letter to Interior Secretary Haaland urging an extension of the public comment period to ensure local stakeholders have a voice in any amendments the Biden regime attempts to make to the bipartisan, state-driven land use plans for greater sage-grouse conservation adopted by the Trump administration.
Rep. Lauren Boebert stated: “The Biden regime’s sage-grouse landgrab policies are not about saving a mediocre bird that is legally hunted in 7 states, rather, they are about locking up tens of millions of acres of land in the West, closing off mineral and energy development, expanding the federal government’s power over rural Colorado, and destroying American jobs. By attempting to unilaterally ram through sage grouse land landgrab policies, the Biden regime has picked up where the Obama regime left off and shut out the voices of local communities impacted by its one-size-fits all, draconian overreach. Along with many of my Western Caucus colleagues, I have called on the Biden regime to extend the public comment period to allow rural communities in Colorado more time to voice their concerns about changes to federal land use policies that will negatively impact their livelihoods.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert is committed to protecting property rights for farmers, ranchers, families, and businesses across Colorado. During the House appropriations process, Rep. Boebert introduced an amendment and submitted an appropriations request to prohibit funding for any efforts to list the sage-grouse as an endangered species.
For nearly a decade, extremist environmentalists have tried to use the non-endangered sage-grouse to lockup land across 173 million acres in 11 states. At their behest, the Obama regime even withdrew 10 million acres from mining and mineral exploration and then amended 98 land use plans to impose a de facto listing of the greater sage-grouse in order to impose a massive land grab on tens of millions of acres and shut down oil, gas and mineral production, and grazing.
Prior to these actions and a listing of the Gunnison sage-grouse, Colorado stakeholders were at the forefront of locally-driven conservation, investing at least $150 million to increase the populations of these species. No federal effort on the sage-grouse will ever match those type of benefits.
Fortunately, the Trump administration worked with local stakeholders to unwind these landgrabs through bipartisan, state-driven land use plans for greater sage-grouse conservation.
The Biden regime is picking up where the Obama regime left off and seeking to limit multiple-use and lockup more land in the West.
The full text of the letter is available below:
We write in regard to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) notice of intent to amend land use plans regarding greater sage-grouse conservation in the states of California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming published in the Federal Register on November 22, 2021. Given the significant public interest in this process and in the preparation of the associated environmental impact statements, we urge you to extend the comment period for the scoping process by 60 days to allow for more participation from states, local governments, tribes and stakeholders.
Before updating the greater sage-grouse land use plan amendments, the Department of the Interior under the last administration issued Secretarial Order 33521 with the aim of enhancing cooperation with the states, clearly identifying objectives and roles for states and the federal government, and establishing a team to review previous land use plan amendments and revisions. Additionally, during the process for the 2019 Sage-Grouse Plan amendments, the last administration made it a priority to collaborate closely with state Governors, state wildlife managers, and other concerned organizations and individuals. This close relationship with stakeholders allowed BLM to improve its alignment with state plans and management strategies to increase the conservation benefits for the greater sage-grouse. This process also helped build a greater trust between the BLM and western communities. We urge you to strive to replicate these extensive coordination efforts as a part of your review.
In December, we sent you a letter calling on you to empower states, local government, and private conservation partners as a part of this process. We also called on the Department to meet directly with impacted state and local governments as well as private conservation partners. Specifically, we requested that you host public meetings in all of the impacted states and would like an update on where the Department stands in carrying out that request.
In addition, given the broad and intense interest in this process of amending land use plans regarding greater sage-grouse conservation, we call on you to extend the comment period for 60- days to ensure that important stakeholder voices across the west are heard.