Next big battle for Nevada ranchers could come from sage-grouse protections


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Sean Whaley
Reporter, Las Vegas Review Journal

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Carson City, NV - April 26, 2014

The long-term survival of a large ground-dwelling bird that lives in sagebrush throughout much of Northern and central Nevada could soon become the next big battle between ranchers and the federal government.

Rather than the recent isolated case involving Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy, the decision on whether to name the greater sage-grouse a threatened or endangered species could harm economic activity across 11 Western states, including 17 million acres in Nevada.

Such a designation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would potentially pit the bird and its surviving habitat against some of Nevada’s biggest industries, including ranching, energy development and mining.

It would make the battle over Bundy’s cattle and his use of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management grazing lands pale by comparison.