Interior Pick Moves Forward after Sage Grouse Dispute

By Lesniewski, Niels | Roll Call, April 10, 2013 | Go to article overview

Interior Pick Moves Forward after Sage Grouse Dispute


Lesniewski, Niels, Roll Call


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's schedule went temporarily afoul of a rather unattractive fowl.

The Nevada Democrat eventually got an agreement to hold an afternoon confirmation vote on President Barack Obama's choice of Sally Jewell to be the next Interior secretary Wednesday evening. But not until Reid's plans ran into an ongoing dispute between Sen. James E. Risch, R-Idaho, and the Fish and Wildlife Service over the possibility that the sage grouse could be listed as an endangered species.

"Secretary Salazar has been working very closely with the Idaho Governor's office and a broad coalition of stakeholders in putting together a science-based solution to sage grouse management," Risch said in a statement to CQ Roll Call issued before Reid secured the time agreement for a vote.

"I am pleased that Sally Jewell wants to continue with the collaborative approach to issues such as this, however, on the sage grouse issue we are not quite there," Risch added. A Risch aide confirmed that the senator previously had indicated he would not grant consent to turn to the nomination of Jewell, the REI CEO nominated by Obama to succeed former Sen. Ken Salazar as Interior secretary.

But by the afternoon, Risch seemed to have gotten what he wanted. "Sen. Risch received assurance that the collaborative process Idaho has embarked upon to keep sage grouse off the endangered species list is supported by the Department of Interior," his aide said.

Risch's concerns came as no surprise given that he previewed the move during the Energy and Natural Resources Committees markup of the nomination. …

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Interior Pick Moves Forward after Sage Grouse Dispute
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