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Land and Wildlife Conservation

Our positions

EMA is committed to promoting commonsense wildlife management and conservation policies. More regulations will not lead to more successful species recovery; instead, collaborative conservation efforts are needed, and we support policy that empowers conservation partners to achieve those goals.


Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act was enacted 50 years ago, with the goal of providing protections for species that were in danger of extinction, recovering the populations to sustainable levels, and then removing the species’ protections once recovery was achieved. However, since then, a small percentage of species have been recovered. The ESA has also been weaponized to focus more on restricting access to lands and waters than on actual recovery of species. Species are often listed as threatened or endangered based on data errors, while others remain listed long after they have recovered due to frivolous litigation by interest groups seeking to maintain land and water use restrictions on the species’ habitat indefinitely. Federal agencies also frequently over-classify critical habitat areas, including those which contain no populations of the species in question.

EMA supports commonsense policies to modernize the ESA, including a bill introduced in Congress to provide more flexibility. The ESA Flexibility Act will grant landowners leeway and the Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) flexibility when dealing with endangered species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Greater Sage-Grouse Rangewide Planning

In March 2024, the Bureau of Land Management issued a draft Resource Management Plan Amendment and Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Greater Sage-Grouse. The agency is considering amendments to 77 different BLM resource management plans, many of which will impact EMA members in 10 Western states. The draft calls for restrictions on new leasable mineral leases in numerous western states where EMA members operate, and also calls for increased use of compensatory mitigation from mining entities seeking permits. These changes will have drastic implications for mine permits and the industry’s ability to provide a domestic supply of essential minerals.