Kristina Baum (EPW) – 202.224.6176

Donelle Harder (EPW) – 202.224.4721

Inhofe Statement on the Sage Grouse Announcement from USFWS

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, raised concerns about the decision today from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to find the sage grouse ‘not warranted’ as a listing under the Endangered Species Act.

“I am concerned with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's approach to the Endangered Species Act listing," said Inhofe. “While the Service announced that the sage grouse does not warrant specific protection under the Endangered Species Act, the federal government retains control over the bird’s habitat.  Roughly 60 percent of the 4.4 million acres of sage grouse habitat is federal land. On federal land, the government will be able to take more extreme conservation measures instead of working with the states to develop conservation plans. The Obama administration has used federal lands as a means to control production of our energy resources and economic development.  States must be involved in the development of conservation plans in coordination with the federal government on federal lands. The Interior's announcement makes it all the more important that the National Defense Authorization bill currently in conference includes House-passed language that would give governors the final word in conservation efforts for the greater sage grouse on land within their state, whether private or federal." 

On Feb. 13, Inhofe introduced the Federal Lands Freedom Act (FLFA) of 2015 (S.490), legislation that would give states the authority to develop all forms of energy resources on federal lands located within their borders, excluding only those areas specifically designated as off-limits.