Editor’s Note: The Department of Justice has informed the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that OMB is the DQA is “policed” by OMB — not by the courts; DOJ went on to state that OMB has the right to “take action” if agencies are not living up to their DQA duties. For more information, see DOJ Notifies the Ninth Circuit that OMB is the Court of Last Resort on DQA Issues: Implications for Climate Change.
The Public Lands Council, as part of the a coalition of western counties and ranching, mining and energy associations, has filed three Data Quality Act challenges to the information that the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey are using to make public lands and Endangered Species Act listing decisions for the greater sage-grouse. The coalition is challenging the reports the agencies are using to justify top-down restrictive measures that will damage western communities while discouraging more effective state and local conservation efforts.
Together, the coalition supports state, local and private sage-grouse conservation efforts over the one-size-fits-all measures being imposed by the federal agencies. Brenda Richards, Public Lands Council president, said the Reports do not address specific cause and effect threats to the greater sage grouse. Rather, the agencies have turned a blind eye to sound science and on-the-ground solutions in order to push their own overreaching agenda.