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"It’s based on sound science and helps us advance meaningful conservation of the species," said Jerimiah Rieman, energy and natural resources policy director for Gov. Matt Mead, R-Wyo.
Gardner, the Republican congressman from Colorado, and others opposed to a listing point to Wyoming as an example of why states should take the lead. "The states are working right now very diligently," Gardner said. "Once you list it, there’s sort of a wall that comes down between people."
But environmentalists say the proposal amounts to a needless delay. Even Democrats who argue the federal government should defer to states don’t support the Republican legislation.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., has warned against listing the bird and led a task force of Western governors who are trying to deal with the issue. A spokesman said Hickenlooper doesn’t support the legislation because it lacks adequate bipartisan support.
Brian Rutledge, vice president of the Audubon Society’s Rocky Mountain Region, said no one wants the bird to be listed but that the Endangered Species Act is working as intended in this case, to push local agencies to do conservation.
He was dismissive of the Republican proposal. "A lot of this," he said, "is just pandering."
Follow Nicholas Riccardi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/NickRiccardi
Greater sage grouse: http://www.fws.gov/greatersagegrouse
Western Governors Association: http://tinyurl.com/l4nunhs
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