A sage-grouse lek at sunrise. The protection of sage-grouse habitat was the result of one of the largest conservation efforts in U.S. history. Great Falls, MT — On Friday, the U.S. District Court in Montana struck down the basis for the Trump administration’s massive oil and gas leasing plans on more than a million acres of public lands in key habitat for sage-grouse, an iconic bird species of the Western United States. The Trump administration attempted to gut a key part of the Bureau of Land Management’s 2015 sage grouse plan which was the result of a historic effort that brought to the table conservationists, sportsmen, representatives for ranching and energy industries and government officials. In December 2017, the Trump administration reversed course and adopted a BLM policy directive that has allowed millions of acres of oil and gas leasing in sensitive sage-grouse habitat. The court on Friday invalidated that 2017 directive and also nullified 440 oil and gas leases, covering about 336,000 acres (525 square miles), that BLM sold as part of its policy reversal. The decision came in a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Montana Wildlife Federation, the Wilderness Society, National Audubon Society, National […]


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