The Latest: Conservationists say proposal could hurt bird
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on a Trump administration proposal to ease oil and gas leasing restrictions that were meant to protect a Western U.S. bird species (all times local):
Conservationists say a Trump administration proposal to ease restrictions on energy leases and other activities on Western lands could unravel efforts to protect an imperiled bird.
Interior Department officials on Wednesday released draft changes to conservation plans for the greater sage grouse in seven states. The protections were approved in 2015 under former President Barack Obama.
The ground-dwelling, chicken-sized birds are known for an elaborate mating ritual. Their numbers declined sharply in recent decades, due in part to oil and gas drilling that drove them off breeding grounds.
Administration officials say the proposed revisions to the Obama-era plans are aimed at increasing flexibility in the management of lands where the birds reside.
The Trump administration is proposing to ease restrictions on oil and gas leasing and other activities across a huge swath of the American West that were enacted to protect a declining bird species.
Interior Department officials on Wednesday released a draft of their proposed changes to conservation plans for the greater sage grouse in seven states.
The protections were approved in 2015 under former President Barack Obama.
But Trump has vowed to increase U.S. energy production and open more public lands to drilling.
Sage grouse are ground-dwelling, chicken-sized birds known for their elaborate mating ritual.
Their numbers declined in recent decades due to energy development, disease and other causes.
Environmental groups earlier this week filed lawsuits alleging the administration already has sold energy leases in violation of the Obama-era plans.