Sage Grouse Update

Administrators and Board of Directors:

This is my second policy update for 2016.

The sage grouse issue continues to unfold and develop before our eyes. As I recently reported to you, the state program is up and running and making progress.  I heard that they were up to 48 permit review requests as of a few days ago. I recall that of the first 24 requests, 14 were not in the impacted area and needed no review.
Click this link to see the latest news about sage grouse:
According to this article, “Montana’s governor and attorney general are both telling the Bureau of Land Management to not pull nearly a million acres of federal land from potential mineral exploration or mining, a move the agency says is to protect sage grouse.”
While this BLM action is currently a proposal, the BLM has not taken into account in a significant way the thoughts and concerns of local people in their last couple of decisions that were of interest to us. Specifically, a previous sage grouse action by BLM in 2015 was more restrictive than the actions adopted by the State of Montana, and the year round grazing issue did not take into account the replacement of fences should BLM’s decision be reversed for ecological or other reasons at some point in the future.
We hope to travel to Washington, D.C. in March for the NACD spring meeting. These topics will be on our agendas and we will try to meet with senior BLM officials as well as our Congressional delegates.
Please send me your thoughts and comments.

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