Udall: Sage-grouse listing ‘grave concern,’ needs state input

Federal officials should recognize as a model Colorado’s efforts to save two sage-grouse species and work closely with the state to preserve the birds, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said Wednesday.

Udall, who is touring the state after his nomination by Colorado Democrats last weekend, also said that he had “grave concerns about a listing at this point” for the birds.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is under court order to make determinations about the status of the greater sage-grouse and the Gunnison sage-grouse. Both varieties are candidates for listing as endangered species.

The Bureau of Land Management is in the process of drawing up management plans aimed at precluding a listing of the greater sage-grouse, which occupies northwest Colorado lands that frequently also are being explored for natural gas production.

Cooperative efforts in northwest Colorado are aimed at accommodating both the birds and natural gas production.

Udall reiterated his call for exports of liquefied natural gas, noting that steps toward those exports send a signal that “petrodictators like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin should not hold our friends and allies hostage.”

Udall will face Republican U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner in the general election. Gardner will not have to face a primary challenger following his nomination, also last weekend.

Udall also is “ready to go” with the introduction of a bill redesignating Colorado National Monument a national park, he said, urging supporters of the idea to weigh in during the comment period on legislation drafted by a Grand Valley committee.

The economy is recovering, Udall said, noting that construction and energy are bright spots as he called for an extension of the production tax credit for wind energy.

An increase in the minimum wage also is due, he said, adding that “it lifts all boats.”

The United States also needs to establish a cybersecurity policy, but can’t do so until it has a grip on the surveillance programs of the National Security Agency’s bulk-data telephone collections program.


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