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Hickenlooper On Sage Grouse, Fracking's Continued Court Battles, And Colorado Biking

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Bente Birkeland
/
RMCR

The U.S. Department of Interior decided Tuesday that the greater sage grouse does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act. The bird spans 11 western states including Colorado, where it lives in pockets along the western slope, but is mostly concentrated in the northwest part of the state.

Gov. John Hickenlooper was one of the many people working to avoid a federal listing for the bird. While the sage grouse decision is a win for the governor, a few other initiatives – and longtime battles in Colorado – still need his attention.

Interview Highlights

On Why An Endangered Species Act Listing For The Sage Grouse Would Have Hurt Colorado:

"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 from putting in certain improvements, different types of regional industries maybe oil and gas, sometimes they are prohibited."

On The Colorado Supreme Court Announcing That It Will Hear Appeals On Hydraulic Fracturing Bans/Moratoriums For Longmont And Fort Collins:

"I expect they will recognize that people's private property can't be taken by government without some kind of compensation. If Longmont or Fort 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."

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.
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