The Associated Press is reporting that Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper says he is urging the federal government not to list the greater sage grouse as an endangered species.  We couldn’t agree more, as this is a blanket move by anti-development folks that have gotten a few animal rights activists groups behind them for a sweeping change that would harm local energy, commercial and agricultural development in Colorado.  These proposals are overly strict measures being sold as a story to protect the bird, but in fact they are intended to prevent development and restrict hunting and ranching operations.  The story reports that:

Hickenlooper said he has urged federal officials to consider the region’s economy and “look at the public-private partnerships that have been so successful in Colorado as a model on how to get things done.”  “Given the unique landscapes and natural resources in Colorado, a Colorado-based solution is more practical than one handed down by the federal government,” Hickenlooper said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency is under court mandate to determine by 2015 if sage grouse deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management wants to finalize plans to designate protected habitat by October 2014.

Colorado, like other states, is looking for provisions that would protect the species while not infringing on business or community development of the land.  The bird’s habitat is on land that is also used for grazing, oil and gas production and community development.  Stringent management for the bird “will kill us” economically, Mesa County CommissionerRose Pugliese said.  Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said the amount of energy development that could be placed off-limits would be devastating. Resources such as natural gas and other minerals worth $34 billion might no longer be accessible if the most stringent management methods are chosen, Jankovsky said.