State lawmakers advance sage grouse mitigation bill

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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) The Wyoming state Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee will sponsor a bill codifying sage grouse mitigation practices into law. Current practices are administered through an executive order.

Wyoming state Rep. Mike Greear, R-Big Horn/Washakie, listens to testimony at a Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee interim meeting in Casper, Wyo. on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019.

“We’re getting more and more mitigation locations and we need to get it in statute,” said Sen. James Anderson, R-Natrona.

The bill would codify the system for designating sage grouse habitats needing protection.

The goal of the proposal is to keep federal authorities from listing the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

Anderson said listing the bird would cripple Wyoming’s economy.

“It could retard the agriculture, oil industry. Every industry that we have could be effected, even tourism. We could block off areas that tourists couldn’t go,” he said.

Every committee member except Sen. Bo Biteman, R-Sheridan, voted in favor of sponsoring the bill Monday.