Trump May Overhaul Obama-Era Sage Grouse Plans

Bob Wick/Courtesy BLM/Handout via REUTERS

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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The Trump administration is considering an overhaul to an Obama-era plan for managing the sage grouse, according to The New York Times.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) will announce its intent to change sage grouse management practices across 10 states later this week. The new changes could result in more development and traditional uses of sage grouse areas, such as grazing and farming, according to TheNYT.

“I’m happy to see that it looks like it’s coming out,” Western Energy Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma told TheNYT of the DOI notice. “This Interior Department is much more willing to cooperate with states, and I think that is very positive for ensuring the sage grouse is protected without killing jobs and economic opportunities.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced in June that he would establish an internal review team to revisit sage grouse conservation plans. The team would study and suggest reforms in line with a prior order in March, “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” that reconsidered conservation strategies in light of their economic effects.

Environmentalists criticized the move, accusing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke of colluding with fossil fuel companies.

“Instead of listening to the governors, local leaders, ranchers and others who worked for years on an unparalleled plan to conserve fragile habitat while meeting the needs of communities, Zinke is looking to sell out the sagebrush to his friends in the fossil fuel industry,” League of Conservation Voters Vice President for Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld told the Washington Examiner. “This is yet another example of the Trump administration undermining sound management of our public lands.”

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