Thursday, February 27, 2014

Oregon Senate passes bill in hopes of keeping sage grouse off endangered list

The state must avoid strict regulations that would come with designating the sage grouse an endangered species, an Oregon lawmaker told his colleagues Wednesday. The listing, Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, said, could decimate the Eastern Oregon economy, much like the listing of the “spotted owl had on Western Oregon timberlands.” Senators approved House Bill 4093 on Wednesday, 24 to 5, which aims to persuade landowners to participate in voluntary sage grouse conservation plans; in return, private information about the ranchers could not be disclosed. “Everyone from Bend to those in John Day should be worried about this — not just ranchers,” said Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, who pushed the legislation. The designation would affect a vast area, he said, and “recreationists, four-wheelers, hunters,” should all be wary of such a designation. One way to avoid such a listing is if landowners enter into contracts with U.S. Fish and Wildlife to work together on sage grouse conservation plans. But landowners are hesitant to do so out of fear their personal information would be available to the public. “Ranchers and landowners wouldn’t want the public or every hunter to know where their gates are, their roads, the number of cattle they have on their property,” Bentz said. Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, was one of the votes against the provision. A former reporter, Burdick said she has a very high bar when it comes to exempting records from the state’s public records laws. Those opposed to the measure said it’s dangerous to create more exemptions to public access...more

 I wonder about those ranchers and other landowners who signed candidate conservation agreements on over 600,000 acres in Texas and NM to keep the sand dunes lizard off the list?  And those who are signing them now for the lesser prairie chicken. Are their records protected?

1 comment:

Floyd said...

Candidate conservation agreements being offered to the current residents of these lands by the U.S. Gov sound just like the contracts offered to past residents. Those historic agreements with assurances were called peace treaties and that didn't work out too well 150 years ago. Some people believe that if you do the same thing twice there is some chance you will get a different result.