A recent government report calls for a 3-mile buffer from energy development activities to protect sage grouse. This is not just a drilling restriction, it also applies to other activities such as solar arrays and wind farms . . .
A government report with significant implications for the U.S. energy industry says a struggling bird species needs a 3-mile buffer between its breeding grounds and oil and gas drilling, wind farms and solar projects.
The study comes as the Obama administration weighs new protections for the greater sage grouse. The ground-dwelling, chicken-sized birds range across 11 western states and two Canadian provinces.
A 3-mile buffer for the birds represents a much larger area than the no-occupancy zones where drilling and other activity is prohibited under some state and federal land management plans.