Tipton Emphasizes the Need for State, Local Coordination in Sage Grouse Management Plans
Washington, DC -- During a Committee on Natural Resources hearing entitled Empowering State Based Management Solutions for Greater Sage Grouse Recovery, Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) questioned three expert witnesses about the success of Western sage grouse management plans and emphasized the need for continued coordination between federal, state and local partners.
Under the Obama Administration in 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued Resource Plan Management Amendments (RMPAs) to 98 sage grouse management plans across 10 Western states. The amendments were met with opposition from several Western states that cited concerns about BLM’s one-size-fits-all approach that fails to take into account local conditions
In June 2017, Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued a Secretarial Order creating a sage grouse review team, and directed the team to reevaluate the 2015 RMPAs and work closely with the states to find solutions that best fit local habitat conditions. In September 2017, Zinke issued a formal notice of intent to reexamine the Obama Administration’s RMPAs.
In his opening statement before the committee, Tipton discussed Colorado’s unique topography and the BLM’s disregard for state-specific challenges in its 2015 RMPAs.
During the hearing, Tipton asked the witnesses whether they felt state fish and wildlife departments and local county officials were the most knowledgeable about their state sage grouse populations and habitats. Each witness testified that local departments and officials were better informed about their state’s unique needs and that there was a drastic need for local input when making conservation decisions.
Of the hearing, Congressman Tipton said, “I’m glad to have had the chance to hear from experts on this issue. Their testimonies solidified my belief that the BLM’s one-size-fits-all plan is not the correct approach, and that it is high time we allow our state and local groups to coordinate and find a solution that works for Colorado.”
Tipton’s opening statement and complete line of questioning can be viewed here.
An audio file of Tipton’s opening remarks can be downloaded here.