Thursday, November 29, 2012

Editorial: Reno PBS station outlines threat to ranchers, miners

Anyone who hasn’t been able to wrap their head around the contentious sage grouse issue can get an easy, one-hour lesson from the Public Broadcasting Service. Reno affiliate KNPB debuted its documentary “The Endangered West: Stewards of the Rangeland” Sunday night. As its title implies, this show looks at threats to ranching. Promotional ads reveal the specific form of threat by showing a photo of a sage grouse. Nevada Rangeland Resources Commission sponsored the documentary, but it includes interviews with Idaho ranchers as well. “The sage grouse issue is actually more about who’s going to control the use of the lands in the West than it is about the bird,” Elko County rancher and commissioner Demar Dahl tells KNPB. Interspersed between the testimonials from ranchers are clips from an interview with Jon Marvel, head of Western Watersheds Project. The group recently received a favorable court ruling in its effort to get the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the sage grouse as a threatened species. Quinton Barr of Western Range Service in Elko outlines the conundrum over a species that is considered to be so plentiful that hunting them is allowed, yet so threatened that their survival allegedly depends upon closing off 50 million acres of public land to grazing, mining or other uses...more

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