During a call on Monday, the Interior Department said they intend to move forward with changing the sage grouse conservation plans, putting the Trump administration’s fossil fuel focused agenda ahead of the interests of western stakeholders, including states, communities and western governors.
Indications on the call and from stakeholders show a tilt to oil and gas for the once innovative bipartisan conservation effort that took nearly a decade of collaboration and coordination among states and the federal government, creating state specific plans and overseeing federal protections for the iconic sage grouse and its habitat that spans 11 western states.
The following statement is from Nada Culver, senior director of policy and planning at The Wilderness Society:
“Secretary Zinke has seemingly walked away from his own commitment to listen to western governors, state wildlife agencies and those who rely on this habitat before taking action, instead setting down a path toward benefitting oil, gas and mining companies who see these public lands as simply a source for profit.
“Moving forward to cut a broad swath through this landmark conservation effort will risk the important balance that was struck to protect the greater sage-grouse and the more than 350 other species these lands support, while also ensuring these iconic landscapes are available to those who value them for work and play.”