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Sage-grouse proposal from Senators Reid and Heller a good plan


Image: BLM.

CONSERVATION LEAGUE NEWS — A new bi-partisan bill to protect sage-grouse habitat in Nevada will benefit the environment and Nevada businesses. The Nevada Sagebrush Landscape Conservation and Economic Development Act, announced today by Nevada Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller, is being hailed by conservation groups, sportsmen, business leaders, and others.

“In Nevada we’ve been working hard to conserve sage-grouse,” said Nevada Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, “This is a positive development that will assist us enormously.”
Nevada State Senator Debbie Smith also commended the effort, saying, “We welcome Senators Reid and Heller doing the same in Washington to provide the needed federal support for sage-grouse conservation.”
The bill would protect important sage-grouse habitats across the state. Sage-grouse populations have been declining across the West, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could add the bird to endangered species list in 2015.  The Nevada Sagebrush Landscape Conservation and Economic Development Act would protect sage grouse habitat and could help prevent the need for Federal sage-grouse protections. The legislation would also provide economic certainty to Nevada business in the event the bird is listed under the Endangered Species Act.
“Protecting these areas is good for the Nevada outdoor recreation economy – which is responsible for $14.9 billion in consumer spending and more than 140,000 jobs,” said April Mastroluca of the Nevada Conservation League, citing data from the Outdoor Industry Association. “These protections guarantee more places to get outside and play – and spend money – a win-win situation for Nevada.”
“Sage grouse habitat is used by more than just the grouse,” said Willie Molini, active sportsman and retired Director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife. “This bill protects quality hunting and fishing lands for mule deer and bighorn sheep as well.”
The bill also contains provisions aimed at bolstering renewable energy in the Silver State and will establish a sagebrush restoration fund that can restore damaged sage-grouse habitat.
“As a renewable energy developer, Ormat has closely watched sage grouse policy evolve,” said Bob Sullivan, vice president of business development for Ormat Technologies, Inc. “In developing conservation regulation, Senators Reid and Heller met face-to-face with local energy professionals assuring our interests are heard.  We commend their commitment to preserving sage grouse habitat while promoting economic development in Nevada.”


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