ICYMI: U.S. undermines states’ grouse plans (The Salt Lake Tribune)

ICYMI: U.S. undermines states’ grouse plans (The Salt Lake Tribune)

“From ranchers to energy producers, stakeholders have worked together with state agencies to implement robust conservation measures for the sage-grouse, balancing economic growth with species conservation.”

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Letter: U.S. undermines states’ grouse plans
By Barry Russell, Independent Petroleum Association of America President
The Salt Lake Tribune
August 1, 2015

Regarding “Utah voters join other Westerners in supporting protection of sage grouse habitat,” (July 23), there is no disagreement that conservation of the greater sage-grouse is a key priority for the West, yet the important role of state and voluntary efforts should not be undermined by recent federal actions to protect the grouse.

The western economy is uniquely tied to industries that rely on the use and conservation of land for jobs, revenue and prosperity. From ranchers to energy producers, stakeholders have worked together with state agencies to implement robust conservation measures for the sage-grouse, balancing economic growth with species conservation. In the oil and gas industry alone, producers utilize horizontal drilling and robust restoration and adaptation techniques to limit surface disturbances, while other companies have joined forces with state and federal agencies to improve Greater Sage Grouse habitats and abide by existing state-based conservation plans, such as Utah’s Greater Sage Grouse Management Plan.

Despite these significant efforts, recently proposed federal plans for the sage grouse impose significant new limitations on land use while doing little to protect the bird from some of the most important threats, including wildfires and conifer encroachment on grasslands. These federal plans will detract from the meaningful conservation efforts already under way at the state level and impose new threats on economic and energy development in the region .

Barry Russell
President, Independent Petroleum Association of America

Barry Russell is the President and CEO of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the leading, national upstream trade association representing oil and natural gas producers that drill 95 percent of the nation’s oil and natural gas wells. These companies account for 54 percent of America’s oil production, 85 percent of its natural gas production, and support more than 2.1 million American jobs.

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