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In reversal, Pentagon now says it backs GOP measure protecting birds

Washington • In an abrupt reversal, the Pentagon stated Thursday it helps a Republican proposal in a protection coverage invoice that might bar the Fish and Wildlife Service from the use of the Endangered Species Act to give protection to two chicken-like birds within the western part of the U.S.

In an electronic mail to Congress, a best Pentagon professional stated the proposal may just assist steer clear of any “negative readiness impacts on military facilities” that may consequence from checklist the sage grouse and lesser-prairie white meat as endangered.

The observation by means of Pete Giambastiani, a legislative affairs aide, immediately repudiates feedback Wednesday by means of Pentagon officers calling the GOP proposal pointless. The House-approved language would block endangered-species checklist for the 2 birds for 10 years.

In a one-paragraph place paper made public Wednesday, the Pentagon stated the GOP provision used to be “not necessary to protect military testing and training” and stated the dep. “urges its exclusion” from the protection invoice being negotiated by means of House and Senate leaders.

Lucian Niemeyer, assistant secretary of protection for power, installations and setting, stated Wednesday that army installations are “not experiencing significant mission impacts related to the management” of the sage grouse, lesser-prairie white meat or the American burying beetle, every other threatened species centered by means of the GOP invoice.

Giambastiani, in his electronic mail Thursday, challenged the accuracy of Niemeyer’s observation.

“The administration, the Defense Department and the Interior Department support the provision in question and believe that it could help the department avoid any negative readiness impacts on military facilities should the species be listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act,” he wrote. “Importantly, several vital military installations are impacted by sage grouse populations in, around or underneath the airspace used by the Department of Defense on a daily basis.”

Alex Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Wilderness Society, stated the GOP invoice would “undermine collaborative, bipartisan efforts of Western states and federal agencies by binding the hands of federal agencies to exercise authority under the Endangered Species Act” to give protection to the sage grouse and lesser-prairie white meat.

“This attempted end-run around congressional authorizing committee jurisdictions has drawn furious opposition” from veterans and sportsmen teams around the nation, Thompson stated, vowing to battle in opposition to the GOP plan.

Utah Rep. Rob Bishop inserted the endangered-species language into the protection coverage invoice, arguing that federal conservation efforts for the imperiled birds and the beetle undermine army coaching and readiness.

A 2015 document by means of the Army says land-use restrictions designed to give protection to the sage grouse may just impact operations at various Western websites, together with the Yakima Training Center in Washington state and Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada.

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