A bill introduced in Congress on Tuesday would require the federal government to sell public land to fund conservation work before it could list a species as endangered.
Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., introduced the bill that would sell 160-acre or smaller parcels.
A response to the potential listing of the greater sage grouse, Amodei’s bill would require a cost-benefit analysis and updated figures regarding habitat and species populations. It would protect private landowners whose property is designated as critical habitat by requiring owners be paid fair market value.
The comment period for the endangered species listing of the bistate sage grouse has been extended 60 days.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials announced Monday that public comment on the proposed listing will be accepted until June 7.
The extension also adds 60 days to the comment period on a proposal to designate approximately 1.86 million acres of critical habitat for the species. Additionally, the service is extending, by six months, the final determination of whether or not to list the bistate grouse as a threatened species. The final listing determination will be published on or before April 28, 2015.
Notice of the extensions was published Tuesday in the Federal Register.
The service will conduct a public hearing in Minden 6-9 p.m. April 29 at the Carson Valley Inn. A second hearing will be 6-9 p.m. April 30 at the Tri-County Fairgrounds Home Economics Building in Bishop, Calif.
The proposed listing includes a special rule that would provide increased flexibility for land management practices that are intended to benefit the sage-grouse, officials said.
A copy of the proposed rules published on Oct. 28, 2013, and other information about the Bi-State DPS of the greater sage-grouse are available at http://www.fws.gov/nevada.
In late October the department issued a notice that the bistate sage grouse is up for being listed under the endangered species act, something state, private and federal agencies, along with private individuals have been working to prevent.
So far only the bistate sage grouse, which lives between Douglas County and Bishop along the Nevada-California border, has been proposed for listing. But a sage grouse population, which occupies much larger areas of the West, may also be considered at some point in the future.
Scientific information regarding the proposed listing will be accepted until June 7, and may be submitted at the public hearings and by one of the following methods:
■ Electronically, via the Federal eRulemaking Portal, at http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–R8–ES–2013–0042 and FWS-R8-ES-2013-0072, which are the docket numbers for these rulemakings. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!”
■ Hard copy, via U.S. mail or hand delivery, to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R8–ES–2013–0042 and FWS-R8-ES-2013-0072; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.