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From the Uinta County Herald:

Federal court overturns "not warranted" listing for greater sage grouse
Posted: Friday, Dec 7th, 2007
BY: CAL TATUM

On Dec. 11, the Federal District Court of Idaho rebuked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for refusing to list sage grouse as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The court reversed and remanded the agency's 12-month decision issued in 2005 claiming that listing sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act was not warranted.

The decision was due to a case involving Western Watersheds Project who wanted a review of the decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The court said the agency's decision "lacked a coherent analysis of the deterioration of (sage grouse) habitat and the regulatory mechanisms designed are to protect the sage grouse," and was "tainted by the inexcusable conduct of on of its own executives ... (former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior) Julie MacDonald."

Court documents said that, "MacDonald's principal tactic is to steer the 'best science' to a pre-ordained outcome. That may explain why so much of the best science in this case was verbally communicated and never reduced to writing any analytical or rigorous manner. This process allows the ultimate decision-makers to subjectively bend the best science to their own ends, while obscuring any inconsistencies. In other words, MacDonald's principal tactic dovetails precisely with the principal weakness in this case. For that reason, MacDonald's extensive involvement in the sage grouse listing decision is an independent reason for the Court's finding that the director's 12-month finding is arbitrary and capricious..."

The court documents said that MacDonald's tactic included "everything from editing scientific conclusions to intimidating Fish and Wildlife Service staffer."

The court also said that "MacDonald had extensive involvement in the sage grouse listing decision, used her intimidation tactics in this case, and altered the 'best science' to fit a non-warranted decision."

Now FWS must revisit their decision and make their decision based on best science.

This decision is crucial for to Wyoming and could have a profound effect on the energy industry, including the proposed development of the Moxa Arch.

"There will be strong implications to the energy industry," BLM Biologist Lorraine Keith said. "How much it will affect the industry will depend on the service (FWS) moves ahead. The sage grouse area is spread throughout the sagebrush areas and everything within those areas could be affected. If FWS decides to place sage grouse in the threatened or endangered species list, they would then have to develop a recovery plan. At this point, we can't predict just how much of an effect that would have on planned energy development.".............................................................................................................for the rest of the story: http://www.uintacountyherald.com/fe_vie ... &heading=0

If Sage Grouse are listed as threatened or endangered it could be the end of hunting them and put a lot of us red necks up on da hill here out of work. I think the Wyoming Game and Fish is doing a good job maintaining the flock, but we are rapidly losing critical habitat for the birds. Just take a drive from Evanston to Pinedale.....some places all that is left after the gas wells are drilled, producing, and the pipelines are laid, is dirt! As a-matter-of fact many of us over here call the antelope in hunt areas 93, 94, and 95, the "dirt eating", antelope sub-species. This may be a long hard fight. I have mixed emotions. I love to bird hunt, especially Sage Grouse, but I make my a good part of my living in the energy business.
 

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Maybe the feds should condem a few hundred thousand acres in wyoming and turn it into a wilderness area. So that those sage grouse and dirt eating prong horns will always have some range. I know that in utah there has to be a specified number of breeding pairs per square mile before they consider giving tags out for that area. I do not now the scientistic facts of it, maybe thack will ring in and offer his 2 cents.
 

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tumblingwings said:
Maybe the feds should condem a few hundred thousand acres in wyoming and turn it into a wilderness area. So that those sage grouse and dirt eating prong horns will always have some range. .............quote]

I don't think there's a hundred thousand acres of land left in the six counties that make up Southwest Wyoming that hasn't got operating gas wells on it.

If they get listed, there will be no more sage grouse hunting...Utah too.
 
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