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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

State Hiring Sage Grouse Recovery Team

Sage grouse.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region (PD)
Greater Sage Grouse

Montana will spend about half-a-million dollars annually to assemble a team to oversee management of sage grouse. The bird is a candidate for listing as a threatened or endangered species.

The five member panel will distribute $10 million in grants over the next two years to preserve sage grouse populations and habitat.

The legislature approved the stewardship project budget this past session without the support of Republican state senator John Brenden of Scobey.

"I didn't think we needed to spend that extra money," said Brendon. "A million-and-a-half to two-million-dollars, for five or six more people when we've got 600 to 700 people in Fish,Wildlife and Parks that are already being paid for by taxpayers."

Some fear a federal endangered species listing could restrict agriculture and energy development.

Montana is creating its own sage grouse plans to prevent a federal listing.

Senator Brenden accuses the feds of blackmailing states into submission.

"I really resent the fact that people from New York City and San Francisco and Missoula are telling me how the hell we should run our property."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide by September whether the sage grouse requires federal protections.

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