Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has announced a new plan to manage sage grouse in 11 Western states. Zinke said the new protocol would go into effect immediately, and the new policy supersedes the Obama administration’s rules.
The changes came from a report by a sage grouse task force that Zinke had established. He said the administration will offer states flexibility in how they choose to protect the bird and also will loosen restrictions on energy development in sage grouse habitat.
Environmental and animal protection groups denounced the Trump administration as weakening the attempt to increase the sage grouse population and a gift to the oil and gas industry. However, Public Lands Council President Dave Eliason says PLC is “encouraged” by several key priorities in the order. Eliason added said the report acknowledges the need for a more collaborative approach between grazing permittees and federal leadership.
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