Mark Udall Trips Over a Sage Grouse
Colorado Democrat Senator Mark Udall is talking a good game (bird) when it comes to an issue with significant economic ramifications for the West, including in Colorado; however, his actions, unlike his words suggest there is good reason for concern.
The bird in question is the Gunnison sage grouse, which the federal government is currently considering listing as an endangered species. But as the Wall Street Journal has pointed out, the bird looks to be more of a trojan horse to stymie the oil and gas industry in the West.
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In partnership with green activists, the Department of Interior may attempt one of the largest federal land grabs in modern times, using a familiar vehicle—the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A record 757 new species could be added to the protected list by 2018. The two species with the greatest impact on private development are range birds—the greater sage grouse and the lesser prairie chicken, both about the size of a barnyard chicken. The economic stakes are high because of the birds' vast habitat.
Udall could have voted to prevent the above from happening in the foreseeable future, instead, he's claiming the threat is required to make local officials act to protect the bird. That position assumes the local officials and state citizens that vote them in and out of office are incapable of acting responsibly without being threatened from the federal government. So much for all politics being local.
To make matters worse, Udall also voted to put the very person in place within the Obama administration who is widely believed to be in favor of such a move. Then, he opposed a House bill that would have put off any listing for ten years. In short, Udall's actions have left the door open for the Obama administration to act unilaterally all but immediately after the mid-terms, allowing him to address the issue from both sides of his mouth.
If that sounds harsh, unfortunately, it wouldn't be the first time Udall stands accused of being duplicitous in this election cycle.
Colorado Democrat Senator Mark Udall is desperately trying to hold onto his seat in Washington D.C. this fall and he's doing it by lying about birth control bans.
As for the Sage Grouse issue, what's clear is that Mark Udall had multiple opportunities to act in a manner consistent with the long term economic interests of the people of Colorado and opted to empower an increasingly unpopular anti-business Obama administration, instead.