Sage grouse decision looks like its going to be left for Obama

Ranch, gas interests had hoped Kempthorne would influence the results of “status review” on the disappearing bird-

I know that by last May Western Watersheds Project and Advocates for the West had pretty much figured out that the matter would go to the next Administration. Of course the Bushies had hoped to ram it through.

Sage grouse decision looks like its going to be left for Obama
. by Rocky Barker. “Letters from the West.” Idaho Statesman.

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Note: a status review is a scientific process to determine whether a species should be listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA.





  1. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. I see it as a tactical move to force the new Democratic administration the make the decision on what appears to be a likely threatened status. This would allow the most affected groups, cattle, oil and gas, etc. to be able to focus their anger at the democrats, thus perpetuating tired, old sterotypes and giving cause to a new round of modern sage brush rebels.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    They think they can do the “War on the West” stuff again like they did in late 70s.

    I hope things have changed. Public lands livestock is such a tiny part of the economy, it is almost not relevant. Nevertheless, there is still that cultural thing — dress up with cowboy boots and a big hat and pretend you are the West.

    At any rate, we shouldn’t be caught off guard. It’s the MSM media that tends to fall for this crap.
    – – – –
    This isn’t a tactical move, however. The Bush Administration really wanted to make the sage grouse decision, but a new scientific study of sage grouse came out that derailed their plans because legally they couldn’t ignore it.

  3. brian ertz Avatar

    after successfully litigating the administration’s previous denial to do a status review, Advocates & WWP drafted a settlement with the Justice Department extending the time-frame for review such that the new scientific study Ralph mentions would be included. This was important, because the study was very comprehensive. Bush’s Interior tried to pull out of that settled extended timeline so that they could avoid consideration of that study, claiming that the Justice Department signed the settlement without their ok (ha !).

    The reason that the status review was extended was so the best available science could be considered – no one (except perhaps the Interior) knew what the study would show, but it was important to consider for the best interest of sage grouse.

    matt, i agree that there is the potential for stirred up anger about the listing of the bird though i think the political circumstance is more favorable to muffling such response than it ever has been. there are currently no sagebrush obligate species that enjoy protection of the ESA though there are a plethora of species that are imperiled dependent on sagebrush. the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem (The Sagebrush Sea) is among the most imperiled landscapes in the country.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan