Nevada Gov. Sandoval backs BLM decision to end sage grouse lands withdrawal |

Nevada Gov. Sandoval backs BLM decision to end sage grouse lands withdrawal

Staff Report

Gov. Brian Sandoval says he supports the decision by the Bureau of Land Management to cancel the withdrawal of western lands in six states from mining and exploration activities.

The withdrawal of 10 million acres of land including three million in Nevada was originally proposed to protect the sage grouse. Those rules also strictly limited mining and energy development in those areas.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed an order Thursday, Oct. 5, loosening the restrictions on energy development and mining activities in sage grouse habitat areas. The new ruled also offer states more flexibility in managing the grouse population.

“Mining has not been identified as a widespread, significant threat to the sage grouse and I appreciate the Department of Interior recognizing the overreach of this action, which had such significant economic impact on our state mining and exploration industries,” said Sandoval in a statement.

He said management of the sage grouse will continue to be “a shared responsibility.”

“The bird population is the responsibility of the state and we will continue to manage it to keep it off the endangered species list,” he said.

But he said since most of the bird’s habitat is on federal land, he is encouraging BLM to make sure it does its part in managing the habitat properly.

He also urged the public and stakeholders to participate in the 45-day public comment period on the changes to the land use management plan to improve the management process.