The federal government is aggressively protecting the sage grouse. A few weeks ago, the Feds listed the Gunnison sage grouse as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. The Feds want to add the greater sage grouse to the list. The greater sage grouse:
- lives in 11 western U.S. states
- covers 165 million acres, almost as big as Texas
- population dropped from around 16 million over 200 years ago, to under half-million today
Conservationists believe that the sage grouse numbers are getting dangerously low. Human activity, specifically energy exploration and development, is the main cause of this issue, they claim.
However, local efforts in conservation and local economies are overlooked when considering listing under the Endangered Species Act in these cases. Overzealous efforts could have irreversible consequences to local economies and hinder growth. Much of the land in western United States is owned by the federal government. Imagine if that same amount of land in the eastern U.S. was also owned by the Feds. More than likely, the United States would not be the global leader that it is today.