Zinke ruffles feathers with new sage grouse strategy

Credit: Bob Wick/BLM

U.S. Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke has unveiled a new strategy that limits the way states can protect the sage grouse, an iconic Western bird whose numbers have plummeted in recent decades, but allows unfettered access to logging, mining, and oil and gas industries. As one conservationist tells the Washington Post, it “shows a callous disregard for nearly a decade of research and collaborative work by states and agencies, while ignoring the western communities who weighed in with millions of comments and who simply want to see the plans left to work as intended.” She’s referring to Zinke’s dismantling of the sage grouse protection plan passed in 2015, which represented years of cooperative work by 11 states, sportsmen, local business owners, elected officials, conservationists, and industry on behalf of the bird. This collaboration is credited with keeping the sage grouse off the Endangered Species List, but now Zinke wants to undo the success with yet another gift to industry. 

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