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 Enzi Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Trump cleaning house on border security Judd Gregg: In praise of Mike Enzi MORE (R-Wyo.) and Reps. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerCain says he 'won't run away from criticism' in push for Fed seat Graham says he's 'not interested' in Mueller testifying Cain says he won't back down, wants to be nominated to Fed MORE (R-Colo.), Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopStatehood bill could make Puerto Rico a state before 2020 Here's why Congress, not the president, should lead on environmental protection Overnight Energy: McConnell tees up vote on Green New Deal | Centrist Dems pitch alternative to plan | House Republican likens Green New Deal to genocide | Coca-Cola reveals it uses 3M tons of plastic every year MORE (R-Utah), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David Daines Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 Main Street businesses need permanent tax relief to grow Overnight Energy: Bernhardt confirmed as Interior chief | Dems probing if EPA officials broke ethics rules | Senators offer bipartisan carbon capture bill MORE (R-Mont.) and Scott TiptonScott R. TiptonHouse Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 When it comes to drone tech, wildfire officials need the rights tools for the job Americans want to protect public lands, Congress should listen 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.