By Renny MacKay
Laramie, WY – The Obama administration announced today (Friday) that it would not put the greater sage grouse on the endangered species list. But the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, said the sage grouse will be classified as a candidate for conservation. That means the grouse deserves protection, but that the federal government does not have the resources right now to take on the task of managing the bird. Salazar says his Department will make more money available to states and landowners to help protect sage grouse.
"My hope as Secretary of the Interior that the smart actions we take in partnership with the states and with private landowners that we will never have to list the sage grouse as a threatened or endangered species."
Under the new classification, the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service will have to review the status of sage grouse every year.
Wyoming's Congressional delegation criticized that decision, saying it will bring more uncertainty to Wyoming industries. But conservation groups were positive, saying this means states like Wyoming will have to work hard to prevent sage grouse from some day becoming listed.