Trump’s Interior Department flips sage grouse protectors the bird

Bob Wick / BLM

U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has announced a 60-day review of the federal land-use management plan for the greater sage grouse—an iconic bird surviving on just half of its historic range, while oil and gas drillers chisel away at its habitat. Zinke’s order puts oil and gas lobbyists ahead of countless stakeholders—conservationists, ranchers, business owners, sportsmen, outdoor recreation leaders, and local and state elected officials—across 11 states who have worked together for years on the sage grouse protection plan. Western economies rely on sage grouse habitat, which brings in roughly $1 billion a year to local outdoor recreation and tourism sectors. Now the Interior Department is upending this collaborative conservation effort for the sake of energy developers.

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