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Wyden, Merkley press Forest Service on sage grouse review

Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and 11 of their Senate colleagues wrote to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke Wednesday to request information about the agency’s role in the Trump Administration’s review of 2015 plans to protect the imperiled greater sage grouse. 

In a Federal Register notice last month, the U.S. Forest Service signaled that the agency may be seeking potential changes to the 2015 plans. Because modifying the plans could have a significant economic impact on rural communities, the Senators asked for details on the agency’s review and requested an extended comment period.

The Federal Register notice is the latest move in a larger review of the 2015 protections that is being conducted across the Trump administration’s public land agencies. In June, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued a Secretarial Order mandating a review of the 2015 protections.

Following the order, Wyden, Merkley and two other senators asked Zinke for details on the review to ensure it would not undermine conservation outcomes.

In addition to Wyden and Merkley, senators signing the letter include: U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry, Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Tom Udall, D-N.M., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Jon Tester, D-Mont., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Jack Reed, D-R.I.

A PDF of yesterday’s letter is available here.


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