The New York Times reports that “The Interior Department said Friday that the greater sage grouse, a dweller of the high plains of the American West, was facing extinction but would not be designated an endangered species for now.” It goes on to say “Residential building and energy development have shrunk the sage grouse habitat over the past several decades, causing its population in 11 Western states to dwindle from an estimated 16 million 100 years ago to 200,000 to 500,000 today.” That means it’s down to about 3% of its historical numbers, and falling fast. And yet, still no federal protection.
I find it very sad that people don’t care more about things like this. Here’s a quote from Jason Chaffetz, a U.S. House representative from Utah: ““The only good place for a sage grouse to be listed is on the menu of a French bistro,” he said recently. “It does not deserve federal protection, period.” To be indifferent — or, in this case, happy — about the prospects of the extinction of a charismatic species…well, it makes me sad and angry that there are people like this at all, much less serving in Congress.