US: Trump opens sage grouse habitat to oil and gas drilling - PressFrom - US
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USTrump opens sage grouse habitat to oil and gas drilling

23:01  15 march  2019
23:01  15 march  2019 Source:   cnn.com

The Trump administration opens millions of new acres to drilling — and that’s just the start

The Trump administration opens millions of new acres to drilling — and that’s just the start A final plan issued Friday weakens federal protections on 9 million acres in the West that were put in place under Obama to protect an iconic bird species

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Thursday detailed its plan to open nine million acres to drilling and mining by stripping away protections for the sage grouse Last December, Mr. Trump signed a law that opened the vast Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration , and the

— The Trump administration moved forward Thursday with plans to ease restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling , mining and other activities that were put in place to protect an The Trump administration also wants to drop some requirements to prioritize leasing for oil and gas outside sage grouse habitat .

Trump opens sage grouse habitat to oil and gas drilling© David Zalubowski/AP EMBARGOED FOR MOVEMENT NOT BEFORE 10 PM EST THURSDAY, MARCH 14 FILE - In this April 20, 2013 file photo, male Greater Sage Grouse perform their mating ritual on a lake near Walden, Colo. The Trump administration is finalizing plans to ease restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling and other industry activities that are meant to protect the imperiled bird species that ranges across the American West. U.S. Bureau of Land Management Acting Director Brian Steed told The Associated Press the changes will protect greater sage grouse while addressing concerns that policies under former President Barack Obama were too restrictive. A formal announcement is expected Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

The Interior Department finalized changes Friday to protections for the sage grouse bird, which could open lands in seven Western states to oil and gas drilling.

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Trump admin to ease oil drilling restrictions protecting imperiled Colorado bird. Critics warned the changes could wipe out sage grouse colonies BILLINGS, Mont. — The Trump administration moved forward Thursday with plans to ease restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling and other activities

The Trump administration moved to amend Obama-era protections on the habitat of the sage grouse bird, potentially opening up vast areas of land in the western United States for oil and gas drilling .

The Interior Department has been working on changing sage grouse protections since June 2017, when former Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an order asking federal and state governments to strengthen "communication and collaboration... with the shared goal of conserving" sage grouse while also not impeding "local economic opportunities," according to the Bureau of Land Management.

The effort looked at changing land use guidelines across the West that had been put in place under the Obama administration in 2015 to protect the bird's habitat.

Under Zinke, Interior asked 11 states whether they thought changes should be made to the 2015 plans, and seven said they thought there should be changes, according to BLM. The department's task force recommended that sage grouse not be protected under the Endangered Species Act and suggested changing land use guidelines in the states that indicated they thought there should be changes to the plans.

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The Trump administration today announced it is forging ahead with plans to give oil and gas companies expanded access to drill in breeding and nesting areas for Greater Sage - Grouse on federal land, a move that critics say ignores the bird’s need for large tracts of unbroken habitat and tosses

Critics say the move could wipe out sage grouse colonies as drilling disrupts breeding grounds. The Trump administration moved forward Thursday with plans to ease restrictions on oil and natural gas Without land swaps and related forms of compensation meant to offset habitat damage, the

The states impacted by Interior's new sage grouse plan are Oregon, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada and northeastern parts of California.

House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat, called the changes a "smash-and-grab job on our environment," in a statement.

"As part of its ongoing campaign to hand over public lands to fossil fuel companies, this administration is rolling back sage grouse protections that many stakeholders created together through a long and deliberative process," Grijalva said. "It seems clear that Acting Secretary David Bernhardt's clients stand to gain more than anyone else from this revision."

Interior Department officials countered by saying that the new policy demonstrates how state and federal government can work together to protect the wild bird and not hinder economic development.

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The population of sage grouses in Wyoming — home to an estimated 40 percent of their global Trump -era leases have given oil and gas companies access to drilling rights in areas that are Increase in Oil Production on Federal Land. The Trump administration has moved to open up more

Sage grouse , a threatened Western ground-dwelling bird, are considered by conservationists to be a key indicator for America’s dwindling sagebrush ecosystem. The Trump administration has proposed easing Obama-era protections for the fowl, part of its “energy dominance” agenda to loosen

"Since the very beginning of this effort, all partners have maintained the need to conserve the sage grouse and avoid the need to list the species as threatened or endangered," said Brian Steed, BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs, in a statement. "We also share a commitment to conservation that does not put the West's communities at risk and which balances between regulation and access."

Trump opens sage grouse habitat to oil and gas drilling© Provided by Cable News Network, Inc. Strutting adult male greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), Alberta, Canada. Bernhardt is a former fossil fuel lobbyist. A CNN investigation found that Bernhardt's former client, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, repeatedly met and emailed Interior officials about the sage grouse bird.

In July and August 2017, IPAA lobbyist Samantha McDonald emailed an Interior staffer about the agency issuing new guidance on maps related to sage grouse and the staffer responded that Interior was "working on it," according to emails obtained by the Western Values Project.

Public calendars show Bernhardt attended at least three staff meetings related to the sage grouse, at least one of which included staffers who communicated with IPAA on the issue or met with the group's representatives.

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oil drilling and mining across Western states, potentially opening up hundreds of thousands of acres of grouse habitat in states like Colorado and Utah to oil and gas leasing. The Obama administration had launched the plan to protect the sage - grouse in September 2015 as an alternative to listing the

Sage grouse , a threatened Western ground-dwelling bird, are considered by conservationists to be a key indicator for America’s dwindling sagebrush Asked why it had proceeded with the sale despite the objections of environmental groups over sage grouse habitat , BLM’s Wyoming office said in a

In a March 2018 letter, IPAA and other groups specifically thanked Bernhardt for Interior's regulation rollbacks and said they looked forward to working with the agency on revising sage grouse land-use policies.

A spokesperson for Bernhardt said in a statement that he has fully complied with his recusal agreements, and some advocates for the energy industry argue that such regulatory rollbacks are part of what Trump was elected to do.

Western Values Project Deputy Director Jayson O'Neill said the Trump administration "broke their deal with the West" by adopting these changes.

"The changes were rigged from the outset at the behest of the same special interests and oil and gas groups that Bernhardt represented as a lobbyist, while ignoring the concerns of former Western governors and the over a half a million voices that asked them to honor the original deal," O'Neill said in a statement.

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