With endangered species protection off the table, greater sage grouse protection now relies on federal and state land-use planning . . .
Before the applause faded from the U.S. government’s announcement that there would be no endangered species protections for the greater sage grouse, the criticism began over wide-reaching federal conservation plans meant to protect the bird’s habitat across 11 Western states.
The land-use plans were released Tuesday after Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said additional federal protections weren’t needed for the ground-dwelling bird that’s seen its habitat shrink due to oil and gas drilling, grazing and other human activity.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management plans outline measures to help sage grouse across 67 million acres of public lands throughout the West, including 12 million acres of prime habitat where strict limits on oil and gas limits will be enforced.