The Department of the Interior is planning one of the largest land grabs in U.S. history and it will be done under the guise of saving wild chickens and 755 other species. Two birds on the list will have the greatest impact – the greater sage grouse and the lesser prairie chicken, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Endangered Species Act is being used to steal land and/or control it in order to limit oil and gas production.
The lesser prairie chicken was classified as “threatened” in March.
On November 12th, U.S. Fish & Wildlife classified the Gunnison Sage Grouse, a cousin of the Greater Sage Grouse, as “threatened.”
The Gunnison Grouse has a large presence in Colorado and a lesser presence in Utah.
It is an omen of things to come. Next year, the decision will be made about the Greater Sage Grouse. The Greater Sage Grouse is found in 11 western states—California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, almost 100 million acres of land. Most of the areas affected are federal lands routinely used for farming, ranching, mining, road building, water projects and oil and gas drilling.
For years, the people of Colorado and Utah have been working to save the Gunnison Sage Grouse and its cousin, the Greater Sage Grouse. There is no doubt that people working together can do much more than the government can do. The only ones who don’t realize that is the government which is committed to only one thing – getting bigger and seizing more control.
Some environmentalists working to save the bird don’t even want the classification because it requires them to go through federal review processes that are “tedious and time-consuming”, creating “roadblocks” to their efforts to help the birds.
Landowners and farmers have been working with environmentalists to save the Gunnison grouse and avoid a listing. That will change.
Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee released the following joint statement on the FWS decision on the Gunnison Grouse:
Once again, the federal government has put forward new regulations that will make life difficult for Utahns and disrupt the Utah economy. As a result of this decision, even more land on which Utahns have depended for generations to support their families will become subject to onerous restrictions imposed by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. Worst of all, this listing was simply unnecessary. As our own Director of Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources has said, federal protections will actually make it more difficult to help the bird, by undermining the voluntary efforts of landowners, local officials, and environmental groups that have successfully maintained the Gunnison Sage Grouse population and conserved their habitat for nearly two decades. Despite these new regulations, we will continue to fight to protect the rights of states to manage wildlife within their borders.”
Both senators have been actively engaged in trying to delay this classification along with environmentalists as they work on plans to save the bird. They want to see state-directed programs to save threatened and endangered animals.
The ESA has nominated the Greater Sage Grouse for special protections even though there are still hundreds of thousands of the birds left and people are eager to help the bird.
Because the Greater Sage Grouse has a larger presence throughout the country, a classification for protections by the ESA will be even more devastating than the classification of the Gunnison.
Half of the West belongs to the federal government, including 48% of California, 69.1% of Alaska, 53.1% of Oregon, 48.1% of Arizona, 42.3% of Wyoming, 41.8% New Mexico, 36.6% of Colorado, 62% of Idaho, 66.5% of Utah and 81% of Nevada.
It’s not enough apparently, as the government moves to stop oil and gas production by taking control of wide swaths of land throughout the West using the Endangered Species Act as an excuse. The classification of these birds will shut off more lands to oil and gas production, farming and ranching.
We have a president who won’t even approve the Keystone XL pipeline despite the fact that most of the country wants it. He has taken a very extreme view on fossil fuels.
Map via the Washington Post
The government often sidesteps legal channels and requirements to produce scientific evidence when classifying species by using the “sue and settle” method. The government gets environmental groups to sue them and they allegedly settle, but it’s all preordained. The upcoming EPA ban on 80% of wood burning stoves is based on this scheme.
The scheme works like this according to Senator Vitter of Louisiana:
A far-left environmental group sues a federal department or agency, like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), claiming that the government is not satisfying its regulatory obligations. Then, after the group and the EPA plan and discuss the matter – without the involvement of any others, including affected business, landowners, and state and local governments – they draft a settlement agreement committing the agency to regulate a certain sector of the economy or type of private property. All that’s left is to get the presiding judge to bless their friendly agreement.
There’s even a bonus prize in this scheme. Because such a settlement is counted as a “win” for the environmental group plaintiff, that suing group is awarded all of its costs and attorney’s fees, creating a revolving fund for its continuing activity, courtesy of our wallets.
Presto: the left, including the Obama Administration, advances its aggressive environmental agenda. No need for messy Congressional hearings or opposing arguments.
The rules passed by the government are always draconian and will create a de facto ban on drilling. After lawsuits and millions of dollars, drilling will be restricted.
Even if they don’t steal the land, which they often do, they make the laws so brutal, it’s impossible to do anything with the land.
Even Harry Reid said a listing for the grouse “will have major ramifications on rural life and the economies in Nevada and throughout the west.”
The Center for Biodiversity is behind this along with other extremist groups. The Center is behind most of these suits.
The American Wind and Wildlife Institute claim that “both lesser prairie-chicken and greater sage-grouse have been shown to be sensitive to disturbance from oil and gas development and have been displaced from otherwise suitable habitat.
Prairie Chickens apparently need five states to roam.
That is prescient of what is to come.
The damage to mankind will be severe.