Editor: I would like to clarify a few points in the Sept. 5 editorial, “Sandoval sage grouse not in danger of extinction.” No disrespect to the editorial board, but, the China Mountain Wind Project was signed off and approved by the BLM. The Nevada Department of Wildlife, led by Director Ken Mayer, was the agency that stopped the project in the last hour. County Commissioner Charlie Myers witnessed the entire process.
The last paragraph might be a little hard to swallow for the fact that the man Governor Sandoval reappointed to run NDOW is not only drinking the kool-aid, but, helping the federal government make the kool-aid. We need new leadership for NDOW that will stand up for Nevada and get off the federal gravy train. Leadership that will quit trying to hold every mining company or wind project hostage by using a bird that isn’t even listed yet.
Remember the Ruby Pipeline project ... El Paso Gas figured out quickly that in order to get a project approved, you must pad the pockets of those involved. El Paso Gas paid Nevada $8.8 million to help out on sage grouse issues, of which $3 million was to go directly to Elko County. NDOW and BLM jointly control the money and can use it as they see fit to assist sage grouse management.
Of that $3 million for Elko County, $250,000 was given to the BLM for fire suppression, $221,000 has been spent on habitat restoration, $90,000 on noxious weed treatment, $68,000 on sage grouse study and $8,000 on holistic training. So far, not one dollar is being spent on protecting sage grouse nest survival by eliminating predators.
Why is this money being spent to fight fires when the BLM has an open checkbook when it comes to fighting fires? $250,000 would have gone a long way in thinning out the raven population to help the sage grouse nest survival.
It is obvious that if we want to do what is in the best interest of Elko County, then Governor Sandoval needs to make a change in NDOW, starting at the top.