GOP wants to block bird’s endangered species listing

Five Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill that would block the federal government from listing the sage grouse as an endangered species, instead relying on state conservation efforts to protect the bird.

Sen. Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziJuan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump Liz Cheney decides against Senate bid in Wyoming Overnight Defense: Senate sends 8B defense bill to Trump | Bill establishes Space Force, federal paid parental leave | House approves .4T spending package MORE (R-Wyo.) and Reps. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerJuan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump George Conway group drops ad seeking to remind GOP senators of their 'sworn oaths' ahead of impeachment trial Mitch McConnell may win the impeachment and lose the Senate MORE (R-Colo.), Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopOvernight Energy: Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel | GOP lawmakers push back on bill to make greener refrigerators, air conditioners | Green groups sue Trump over California fracking plans Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel Overnight Energy: Critics warn latest environmental rollback could hit minorities, poor hardest | Coalition forms to back Trump rollback | Coal-fired plants closing at near-record pace MORE (R-Utah), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesKoch network could target almost 200 races in 2020, official says GOP senators introduce resolution to change rules, dismiss impeachment without articles Congress to clash over Trump's war powers MORE (R-Mont.) and Scott TiptonScott R. TiptonDemocrats launch bilingual ad campaign off drug pricing bill This week: House to vote on Turkey sanctions bill House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 MORE (R-Colo.) said their bill, the Sage Grouse Protection Conservation Act, encourages states to work with the Interior and Agriculture departments to protect both the greater sage grouse and the smaller Gunnison grouse.

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The Fish and Wildlife Service proposed the endangered designation for the Gunnison grouse following a federal court settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity. The Service has committed to making a final decision on the designation by November.

“A one-size-fits-all approach is not the way to best protect the Sage grouse,” Gardner said in a Thursday statement.

“States have proven that they are more than capable of working in tandem with the federal government to preserve wildlife,” he said. “By encouraging conservation plans at the state level, those most familiar with the local habitats and economies will be directly involved throughout the species management process.”

“The matter concerning the protection and recovery of the western Sage grouse is a perfect example of something that can and should be managed by the states in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture,” Bishop said.

Sage grouses live exclusively in Western states. An endangered listing could put new restrictions on private landowners or lessees on federal land.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has already listed the Gunnison grouse as endangered.