The Interior Department has begun the process of reconsidering and potentially revising a 2015 plan to protect the greater sage grouse, a Western bird that has seen its habitat dwindle.
The decision earned immediate criticism by those who charge that revisiting the plan means “pandering to a few large energy interests.”
In a notice published Thursday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said it would review land use provisions in the federal sage grouse conservation plan, which limits new development on some of the sage grouse’s range in 10 western states and defines ways to expand its habitat there.
BLM is also set to reverse an Obama administration effort to block mining on 10 million acres of land in six Western states. The ban was part of the administration’s efforts to protect the sage grouse.
The announcements are the latest development in the goal to protect the sage grouse, a distinctive chicken-sized bird characterized by its unique courtship rituals.
Conservationists and environmentalists have urged federal and state governments to take action to protect the grouse, which has seen its population fluctuate throughout the west….