The U.S. Department of Interior decided on Tuesday that the greater sage grouse does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act. The bird spans eleven western states including Colorado, where it lives in pockets along the western slope. The population is mostly concentrated in the northwest part of the state. Governor John Hickenlooper was one of the many people working to avoid a federal listing for the bird. He sat down with statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland to talk about the decision and other initiatives.
On Why an Endangered Species Act Listing for the Sage Grouse Would Have Hurt the State:
"Listings come with all kinds of basically handcuffs on them. So a lot of things you can't do for large expanses of land, in terms of ranching and farming you're prohibited form putting in certain improvements, different types of regional industries maybe oil and gas, sometimes they are prohibited. "
On the State Supreme Court announcing that it will hear appeals on whether Longmont can legally ban fracking and whether Ft. Collins can legally have a five-year moratorium on fracking:
"I expect they will recognize that people's private property can't be taken by government without some kind of compensation. If Longmont or Ft. Collins want to ban fracking permanently or for a period of time, the people that have reserves should be compensated, just like if government takes someone's land and they want to put a road on it."
On the Governor's new proposal to put $100 million into bicycle infrastructure:
"We are going to be the best place whether you want to go mountain biking or bike to work or whatever. If you create that level of PR it's a huge attraction when you look at tourism marketing."