Endangered Species List; Sage Grouse - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Endangered Species List; Sage Grouse

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BILLINGS -

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering whether to add the sage grouse to the endangered species list. And Wednesday, Congressman Daines held a panel at MSU-B to discuss the move.

Many farmers and ranchers are concerned that adding the bird to the list would severely restrict grazing on lands where the sage grouse nests. Several ranchers, county commissioners, and other groups in eastern Montana provided testimony to the representatives looking into the matter.

Congressman Daines said he believes the act is broken and is need of some common sense reforms.

"This is the abuse of the endangered species act. This law is well intentioned. This is about trying to find reforms to the ESA going forward," said Congressman Daines.

"We just wanted to emphasize that we're working really hard across the range with everybody to implement good conservation and that's our goal, is good conservation for the sage grouse," said Michael Thabault (ta-bowe), who serves as the assistant regional director for ecological services at the U.S. Fish Wildlife Services for the Mountain Prairie region.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is still conducting surveys and gathering comments from the public. A decision on whether to add the sage grouse to the list is expected by 2015.