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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Editorial: Sages grousing about the sage grouse ...

Above: Not the Editorial Board.

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Perhaps the editorial writers at The Trib, and elsewhere, should recuse themselves from any arguments over the future of the sage grouse. Considering that it could be an alternative job title for us.

So, where do we go to file for Endangered Species Act protection?

- Sage grouse: Utah should accept science - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

When scientific research turns up data that doesn’t support your preferred policy, most reasonable people would think about adjusting the policy. Kathleen Clarke, on the other hand, would rather just change the data.

Clarke ran the Bureau of Land Management under former President George W. Bush, when much scientific data was ignored or redacted if it ran counter to that administration’s lands policy, which was affectionately, and accurately, referred to as "drill, baby, drill."

And she is bringing that philosophy back to Utah as Gov. Gary Herbert’s public lands policy coordinator.

Her target is the disappearing sage grouse, which has declined, according to Utah statistics, 1 to 2 percent a year since the 1980s. If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finds that the grouse should be protected under the Endangered Species Act, Clarke wants to be ready to refute those findings — whatever they might be.

It is a matter of life and death for the bird, but a matter of more or less widespread oil and gas drilling for energy developers. And it’s not difficult to predict which takes priority in Utah. ...

Related:

- Time to improve the Endangered Species Act - Rep. Doc Hastings, for The Washington Times

... The House Natural Resources Committee, which I chair, has begun a series of hearings to review the ESA. The purpose of these efforts is to look for ways to update, improve and strengthen the law - not to turn back the clock to 1973, before the law was passed. Congress last renewed the ESA in 1988, which means it has been 24 years since any substantial updates have been made. Clearly, Congress has failed to do its job. Even the most ardent supporters of the ESA should be able to agree that after two decades, there are ways to make the law more efficient and effective. By listening to citizens both affected by and interested in the ESA, the committee will conduct a fair and open assessment of both the law’s strengths and its weaknesses. ...

- Celebrating or cursing Endangered Species Day - Rich Keller, Ag Professional



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