Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today testified before the House Natural Resources Committee. During the hearing, Public Lands and Environmental Regulation subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01) highlighted recently released emails between Department of Interior staff from September-December 2011 that have led to questions about the lack of real scientific data and legal analyses used in the production of BLM's 2011 "Report on National Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Measures" presented by the Sage-grouse National Technical Team (NTT).
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"It is clear that the science used to guide new federal policies on sage grouse in the West is questionable at best. It is clear that there is a lack of continuity between science and the Department's preferred policies. In reviewing the emails I was surprised to see that policies were being developed despite there not being sufficient science illustrating a need. It's concerning that the DOI does not appear to be seriously considering Utah's sage grouse management plan when there is clear turmoil on this matter within the Department itself. States, not the federal government, consistently demonstrate that they are more capable than the federal government of managing and preserving their wildlife and natural resources. I am pleased that Secretary Jewell stated that Utah will be included in the six-month delay of the Gunnison sage grouse decision and I will reiterate my call for a longer term delay in the Department's rushed Greater sage grouse effort to allow adequate time for the state of Utah's plan to be implemented," said Bishop.