There was a collective sinking of spirits when it was announced yesterday that the Gunnison Sage Grouse would be listed as a threatened species, meaning that hundreds of thousands of acres of the bird’s “habitat” in Colorado and Utah could not be developed. We cataloged the fact that Coloradans had gone to great and (in our opinion) irrational lengths to prevent such a listing. Even Lynn Bartels noted on her Facebook page: “my heart aches to know the feds ruled against these people”.
But, some are now questioning whether the very public firing of uber-enviro U.S. Sen. Mark Udall might have caused the Obama administration’s Fish and Wildlife Services to dig in on the highly-controversial issue.
Liberal Governor John Hickenlooper in the past has acknowledged the potential for retribution from Washington, D.C. if he took a stance on environmental issues. When talking about the Keystone XL pipeline earlier this year, he said:
“I’ve avoided taking a position because it’s just going to piss off a lot of people in Washington that I don’t need to piss off.”
If there’s a tit-for-tat on environmental issues at play between Colorado and Washington, D.C., is it such a stretch to wonder if the Gunnison Sage Grouse listing wasn’t at least a little motivated by Sore Loser-itis? In the past, the Obama Administration has been accused of using it’s executive power to punish political adversaries. Would they go so far as to kill Coloradans’ jobs? We certainly hope not, but one has to wonder.