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For Immediate Release
December 03, 2004
 
No Listing Decision for Sage-grouse Good News for Species Recovery

San Diego, CA - House Committee on Resources Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) applauded the finding of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service today that the Greater Sage-grouse should not be listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

"When it comes to species recovery, the worst thing a true conservationist can hear is, 'I'm from the federal government and I am here to help.' The Endangered Species Act has compiled a 99 percent rate of failure in species rcovery. It is ironic, but the finding against listing the Sage-grouse is great news for those interested in actually recovering this species. Private conservation and recovery efforts work, the ESA does not."

It is a fact. The Endangered Species Act has only recovered twelve of the roughly 1300 species it has listed in its thirty year history, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That amounts to a less than one percent rate of success for species recovery.

"Private cooperative conservation efforts to aid the Sage-grouse have already proven effective and are clearly the best way to save endangered species. Allowing these efforts to continue will ensure healthy, vibrant populations in the future. Heavy-handed ESA edicts from the federal government have only locked up millions of acres and have done nothing to recover species. We should not be adding any species to this failed program until Congress updates it to make it work."

Chairman Pombo joined the Western Governors Association in San Diego today for a summit on ideas to update and modernize the ESA, where the Sage-grouse decision is being discussed.

"As the Western governors know all too well, the current Act is an obstacle to cooperative agreements and stifles innovative methods of recovering species," Pombo continued. "The fate of species and the noble intent of this law have suffered at the hands of Washington's inability to update and strengthen the Act. We will advance our goal of fixing this broken law with the summit discussions this weekend. It is not a question of if we should improve this law, it is a question of how."

"As chairman of the committee entrusted with primary jurisdiction over the ESA, I can say with great optimism that as Congress returns for the 109th session, I plan to build on successful stories such as the Sage-grouse to help strengthen and update the Endangered Species Act."

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