January 28, 2005

Delegation Applauds State Handling Of Slickspot Peppergrass

Federal officials say state management will preclude Endangered Species listing

Washington, DC - Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Larry Craig, and Representatives Mike Simpson and C.L. â??Butchâ?? Otter, today welcomed a federal decision to allow the State of Idaho to take the lead in managing habitat for slickspot peppergrass, avoiding a federal listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The slickspot peppergrass grows in sagebrush deserts in Southwestern Idahoâ??s Snake River plain and Owyhee plateau areas. Senator Crapo chairs the Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over ESA reform and was told of the decision this morning by the Assistant Interior Secretary. â??This is the way that landowners, states, and the federal government can and should work together,â?? Crapo said. â??One of the biggest flaws in the Endangered Species Act is that species get listed, but never get active help. Iâ??m proud that Idaho is the first state to rally its efforts ahead of time and remove the need for the ESA listing in the first place. Anyone who is concerned about the future of this plant and the people who share its habitat now has an opportunity to join in the work of implementing a serious conservation program.â??â??Todayâ??s decision is an ESA success story of what happens when ranchers, the state, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service work cooperatively to develop a conservation program that strives to protect a species from being listed,â?? Senator Craig said. â??This is the right approach to ESA, working to prevent a listing is the best way to conserve a species, and not waiting until it is too late. This conservation agreement is a balanced approach and a great deal of credit goes to the Governorâ??s Office of Species Conservation and the Idaho Cattle Association.â??"Once again, this is a testament to the ability and competence of the state agencies within Idaho to handle endangered species issues at the local level, rather than look to federal agencies for a one-size-fits-all approach," said Congressman Simpson. "This is a great example of what can be accomplished when the government becomes a partner in solving problems with local concerns in mind rather than taking a top-down, cookie-cutter approach,â?? Congressman Otter said. â??It also shows the character of individual Idahoans willing to work together to resolve species conflicts on the ground, rather than in a courtroom or a bureaucrat's office. And it's another terrific indication of the Bush administration's refreshing approach to finding innovative solutions to real-world problems. It works, and that's what matters."# # #