Sage Grouse Conservation Changes Praised, Provoke Alarm
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — President Donald Trump’s administration has opened the door to industry-friendly changes to a sweeping plan imposed by his predecessor to protect a ground-dwelling bird across vast areas of the West.
Wildlife advocates warn that the proposed changes would undercut a hard-won struggle to protect the greater sage grouse.
Representatives of the ranching and energy industries cheered the policy shift as needed to give states flexibility.
A document outlining the recommended changes was released Monday.
It backed away from requirements to keep rangeland grasses and shrubs at a prescribed minimum height, which ranchers had complained was arbitrary.
The ground-dwelling sage grouse has lengthy, pointed tail feathers and is known for the male’s elaborate courtship display in which air sacs in the neck are inflated to make a popping sound.