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Sen. Murkowski Commends Advancement of Sage Grouse Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today commended the efforts of Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) and Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) to advance legislation that would seek to avoid listing the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) through state and local led efforts.

The legislation would prohibit the Interior Department (DOI) from listing either the Greater sage grouse or the Gunnison sage grouse under the ESA for 10 years while states across the grouse’s 11-state habitat range prepare and implement a conservation and management plan for the grouse.

“I commend Sen. Enzi and Rep. Gardner for their leadership in advancing legislation that is a crucial first step forward in conserving this important species,” Murkowski said. “Allowing the states to take a proactive approach toward developing conservation measures for these birds negates any need for DOI to list it under the ESA, which would have significant ramifications for millions of citizens.”

The Enzi bill, which Murkowski cosponsored, is a companion to Gardner’s version in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The sage grouse is found in 11 states across the West. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has until September 2015 to decide whether to list the grouse under the ESA. An endangered listing would have a potentially crippling effect on Western state economies by limiting oil and gas production, development of renewable energy sources, agricultural production, and outdoor recreation.

“My colleagues and I share the Fish and Wildlife Service’s goal of avoiding listing the sage grouse under the ESA,” Murkowski said. “Advancing the principles embodied in this legislation, particularly the role of the states, is key to achieving that goal.”

Murkowski is the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

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