Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 18, 2016

Contact: Randi Spivak, (310) 779-4894,

Bishop Pushing to Stymie Protections for Iconic Bird of the West

Congressman Wrongly Claims Greater Sage Grouse Protections Pose National Security Threat

WASHINGTON— Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) is trying to undo protections for the iconic greater sage grouse by including language in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow states with greater sage grouse management plans to block the recently completed federal land management plans and thwart the ability of the sage grouse to gain protection under the Endangered Species Act until Sept. 30, 2026.

The National Defense Authorization Act, the bill that funds military spending bill, is in the final states of negotiation with members of the lame-duck Congress’ Conference Committee.   

“Bishop’s disdain for America’s public lands and wildlife blinds him to facts and expert opinion,” said Randi Spivak with the Center for Biological Diversity. “What part of the Defense Department’s statement that sage grouse plans would not significantly impact military readiness does he not understand?”

Sage grouse habitat overlaps with some military bases, yet Defense Department officials have written letters to House Democrats affirming that the greater sage grouse management plans will not “affect military training, operations, or readiness to any significant degree”.

“Bishop’s dogmatic view that protecting the iconic sage grouse, and the hundreds of wonderful species that rely on the Sagebrush Sea ecosystem is arrogant and dangerous,” said Spivak. “Extinction means nothing to Bishop and he looks for every opportunity to give away our public lands to polluting corporate interests.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been pushing back on Bishop’s greater sage grouse language as he did last year when the annual defense spending bill was up for reauthorization. The 2016 NDAA did not include the Bishop poison pill language.

Bishop said Thursday that McCain didn’t understand the issue, indicating that the Arizona senator was naive and misinformed.  Bishop has made clear he is looking to overturn the greater sage grouse plans and block environmental groups from using bedrock species protection laws to protect greater sage grouse.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Go back