Yesterday the Bureau of Land Management announced that the agency canceled the application that proposed to withdraw about 10 million acres across six states from future mining and exploration activities. Approximately 3 million acres in Nevada would have been affected by this withdrawal.
I support Secretary Zinke’s action to cancel this withdrawal and terminate the environmental analysis associated with it. Mining has not been identified as a widespread significant threat to the sage-grouse and I appreciate the Department of Interior recognizing the overreach of this action, which had such significant economic impact on our state mining and exploration industries.
The BLM also announced that it is opening a 45-day public comment period on the land use management plan amendments. I encourage our stakeholders to participate during this period to make recommendations to better align the Nevada State Plan with the federal plan in a meaningful way. This is an opportunity for state partners to improve the federal plan and Nevada is committed to this process. I also encourage the BLM to engage with the states, both individually and collectively, in charting a path forward for the west.
The management of the greater sage-grouse is a shared responsibility. The bird population is the responsibility of the state and we will continue to manage it to keep it off the endangered species list. The bird’s habitat is largely on federal land, however, so I encourage the BLM to make sure the agency does its part in managing the habitat properly to ensure the sagebrush ecosystem is conserved and enhanced.
I will continue to work closely with my fellow western Governors and encourage the Department and BLM to fully participate and engage in the Sage-Grouse Task Force established by the Western Governors’ Association and the Department in an effort to implement effective conservation policies that will avoid the need for listing the bird as an endangered species.