Statement on Attorney General's Decision to Pursue Litigation on Greater Sage-grouse


Contact

Mari N. St. Martin
Communications Direcvtor
(775) 684-5670
Carson City, NV - - October 22, 2015

Good morning: Please find below a statement from our office in response to the Attorney General’s decision to pursue litigation in his personal capacity on the Greater Sage-grouse. As most of you know, the Governor is leading a trade mission as President of the Council of State Governments so the statement can be attributed to me. Thank you.

“If the Greater Sage-grouse had been listed as an endangered species, the consequences of that listing would have been permanent and inflexible. It would have given exclusive control of the management of the bird as well as the habitat to the federal government.

The "unwarranted" decision keeps management of the Greater Sage-grouse with the Nevada Department of Wildlife and protects Nevadans from having to engage in formal consultation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) on how to manage private land as well as public.

The Governor has been proactively engaged on this issue from the beginning of his administration, and he has worked with all stakeholders to achieve a mutual goal: preventing the listing of the Greater Sage-grouse as an endangered species.

The federal government’s decision not to list the Greater Sage-grouse is a direct result of the State of Nevada's strategic collaboration with other western states through the Western Governors Association, as well as the Department of the Interior. Many Nevadans, including local industry stakeholders, sportsmen, conservationists and the general public, participated in this engagement strategy and they will continue to be involved moving forward.

Prematurely embroiling the State in costly litigation at this juncture threatens to compromise future collaborative efforts to implement the Nevada plan developed over the last four years by the Sagebrush Ecosystem Council. The Council is comprised of state and local leaders, alongside industry and conservation stakeholders, who have been working on this issue for years and will continue to be engaged in the Governor's response to the USFWS decision.

The Governor continues to have significant concerns about the 10 million acres -- 3 million of which are in Nevada -- that were immediately withdrawn from future mineral entry and multiple use by the Bureau of Land Management and will continue to engage Secretary Sally Jewell on this issue.

The Governor’s course of action is informed by more than a decade of experience on this issue and he believes it is premature to pursue litigation. The Governor believes that joining a lawsuit now will chill ongoing discussions between the state and Department of Interior, divert resources from the current strategy of engagement and could actually undermine the "not warranted” decision nearly every stakeholder has been working toward for over a decade. Once this collaborative phase of engagement is complete, further action will be considered.

By pursuing litigation now, the Attorney General is acting in his personal capacity and does not represent the State of Nevada, the Governor, or any state agencies.”

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