Washington, D.C. – With the U.S. Senate considering authorization for the nation’s military programs, Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch are co-sponsoring plans to promote state management programs that can head off potential conflicts between operations on military training ranges and the Greater Sage-Grouse. The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allows individual states that are home to military facilities sufficient time to put sage grouse recovery plans in place before there is a federal listing of the western bird as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
“Idaho has been developing strong recovery plans for the sage grouse; those plans should be allowed to work before the federal government steps in and disrupts the operation of our training ranges which serve our military personnel at Mountain Home Air Force Base and Gowen Field,” said Crapo.
“The state of Idaho and other groups were invited to create a plan to support and protect sage grouse populations,” said Risch. “If the federal government shares our concerns and goals it would allow the states to implement their own plans in order to keep our military bases operational and our troops ready while at the same time protecting the sage grouse.”
Senators from several Western states, including Utah, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma and Kansas have joined together in sponsoring the amendment. As an example, they point to a 40% increase in sage grouse populations in Utah as a result of that state’s management efforts and say a federal declaration will stop progress with state-driven recovery efforts as well as impact military training programs critical to the nation’s defense.###