Iconic western bird, sage grouse, suffers under Trump administration

Credit: USFWS

The U.S. Department of the Interior is moving forward with its revision of the sage grouse's conservation plan, which will open up currently protected lands to oil and gas development. While Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and company claim the changes will increase flexibility for states to manage the birds on their own, the decision will remove protections for more than 60 million acres while ignoring the previous plan’s bipartisan support, decades of foundational research, and 40,000 public comments backing it. The Interior Department first took steps last August to undo the conservation plan that stretches across 11 states—even though it’s credited with keeping the spiny-feathered bird off the Endangered Species List.

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