Zinke Move Threatens Western Sage Grouse to Advance Oil and Gas Leasing

WASHINGTON – In a sweeping decision that threatens massive swaths of land, hundreds of species and precious wildlife habitat, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today moved to roll back a conservation plan for the greater sage grouse on western U.S. lands.

The following is a statement from Bobby McEnaney, senior director for the Western Renewable Energy Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“It’s hard to pretend at this point that Zinke is a steward of America’s public lands: he acts more like a pillager. This rolls back a conservation plan that was carefully crafted by states, ranchers, conservationists and public officials to protect this iconic western bird and the unique sagebrush landscape it inhabits. Zinke’s move to unravel it is his single largest land use decision to date. It has no basis in science—it’s a bald-faced giveaway to the oil and gas industry.”


Today’s move comes after several indications from the Trump administration – in October and December of 2017 - that it would prioritize the interests of the oil and gas industry over preserving habitat.  BLM plans to lease this landscape have multiplied in the last year.

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​