...Immediately, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and the Idaho State Legislature filed a federal lawsuit in Washington, D.C.; they were joined days ago by a 105-year-old mining association. Meanwhile, Nevada’s Elko County, which stands to lose $31 million annually in agriculture, mining and energy development activity, and Eureka County along with two small mining companies, sued in federal district court in Reno. A month after filing, they were joined by Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt. Recently, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association sued in federal district court in Cheyenne, contesting the planned limits on grazing.
It is not only western governors’ efforts to balance sage-grouse conservation with the need for economic activity that are being mocked by Obama officials. Decades ago, Congress, fed up with various presidents’ usurpation of its constitutional role in managing federal lands, sharply limited the executive branch’s authority to withdraw public lands, limits that the sage-grouse orders boldly ignore. Westerners are fighting back, but if the past is any indication, Congress will remain feckless, impotent and uninvolved in the face of Obama administration lawlessness.
William Perry Pendley, an attorney, is president of Mountain States Legal Foundation and author of “Sagebrush Rebel: Reagan’s Battle with Environmental Extremists and Why It Matters Today” (Regnery, 2013).