Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - April 26, 2018 


President Trump’s lawyer due in court today. Also on our rundown: HUD Secretary Ben Carson proposes raising the rent on low-income families; plus we will look at efforts to address addiction in Ohio: what’s working, and what’s not.

Daily Newscasts

Hearing on Sage-Grouse Habitat Tomorrow

The sage grouse conservation plans, signed under President Barack Obama, came together after years of negotiations between stakeholders. (Skeeze/Pixabay)
The sage grouse conservation plans, signed under President Barack Obama, came together after years of negotiations between stakeholders. (Skeeze/Pixabay)
November 6, 2017

SPARKS, Nev. — The Bureau of Land Management will hold hearings this week in Sparks, Ely and Elko to get public input on a proposal to modify sage grouse conservation plans, which could pave the way for more mining and ranching.

The plans were signed in 2015 with input from the state, BLM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, conservation groups, ranchers, private land holders and energy and mining interests. The Trump administration now wants to revisit the plans.

But leading sage grouse scientist Matt Holloran recently signed a letter, along with more than a dozen colleagues, asking Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to give the science-based plans a chance to work.

"The science took into account things like the response of the species to gas development,” Holloran said. "The science supports the habitat objectives and the approach taken to managing livestock grazing. The science supports the identification of critical habitats."

The sage grouse is a bird the size of a chicken that is considered a "sentinel species” - its fate mirrors that of 350 other species, such as elk, golden eagles and pronghorn. The sage grouse has lost 95 percent of its population and half its historic habitat. The conservation plan was meant to keep the bird off of the endangered species list.

The hearings will take place Tuesday in Sparks, Wednesday in Elko and Thursday in Ely.

Zinke has said he wants to give states the flexibility to allow more development. But Ken Rait, project manager for The Pew Charitable Trusts, said the plans represent a hard-fought compromise already.

"The 2015 plans were developed with specific state needs in mind and actually provide specific provisions requested by the various states,” Rait said. "And so, the original plans were actually quite flexible. "

The sage grouse habitat, the sagebrush sea, stretches 50 million acres from northern California to Montana, with parts in Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Colorado and Wyoming.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV