Quantcast
Connect with us

US proposes looser protections for the greater sage grouse, to boost drilling, mining

Published

on

The U.S. Interior Department on Thursday proposed easing Obama-era protections for a bird, the greater sage grouse, to boost oil drilling and mining across Western states, a win for energy companies but a setback for conservationists.

The proposal, announced by the department’s Bureau of Land Management, fits within the Trump administration’s broader plan to increase energy production on federal lands by rolling back environmental regulation.

ADVERTISEMENT

The BLM said the proposal would open up hundreds of thousands of acres of grouse habitat in states like Colorado and Utah to oil and gas leasing, allow for changes to grouse habitat boundary maps, and remove obstacles to new coal leasing.

Interior Department Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, a Colorado native and a former energy lobbyist, said the proposals reflected the interests of Western States that host the chicken-sized prairie fowl, which is considered by conservationists to be a key indicator species for America’s dwindling sagebrush ecosystem.

“With today’s action we have leaned forward to address the various states’ issues, while appropriately ensuring that we will continue to be focused on meaningfully addressing the threats to the Greater Sage-Grouse,” he said.

Former President Barack Obama’s 2015 plan to protect the ground-dwelling bird imposed restrictions to development in their habitat, but in a concession to business groups fell short of placing them on the endangered species list – a move that would have imposed far more rigid rules.

ADVERTISEMENT

But miners, oil drillers and ranchers in some Western states have said the plan unnecessarily hurt economic development.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke last year had ordered a review of protections for the sage grouse to “ensure conservation efforts do not impede local economic opportunities” – one of numerous reviews of Obama-era environmental protections launched by President Donald Trump’s administration.

Bobby McEnaney, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the move a “bald-faced giveaway to the oil and gas industry.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“This rolls back a conservation plan that was carefully crafted by states, ranchers, conservationists and public officials to protect this iconic Western bird and the unique sagebrush landscape it inhabits,” he said.

Sage grouse are now believed to number between 200,000 and 500,000 birds across 11 Western states and southern Alberta.

Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Frances Kerry

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Austrian man held in Dutch cellar family ‘waiting for end of time’ case

Published

on

Dutch police were holding an Austrian man after the discovery of a father and his adult children who were believed to have stayed hidden in a remote farmhouse for years, officials said Wednesday.

The mystery surrounding the case in the village of Ruinerwold in the northern province of Drenthe also deepened with reports that one of the children had been active on social media this year.

Police said they discovered a father and five children aged between 18 and 25 on Monday and arrested a 58-year-old man -- not the father -- for failing to cooperate. They initially spoke of six children but later revised the number down.

Continue Reading

Facebook

Federal judge overturns ObamaCare’s transgender protections, because Jesus

Published

on

A U.S. District Court judge in Texas has overturned the protections written into ObamaCare for transgender people, ruling they violate the religious rights of healthcare providers who hold religious beliefs that oppose the existence of transgender people.

On Tuesday Judge Reed O'Connor, appointed by President George W. Bush, "vacated an Obama-era regulation that prohibited providers and insurers who receive federal money from denying treatment or coverage to anyone based on sex, gender identity or termination of pregnancy," The Hill reports.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Sanctuaries protecting gun rights and the unborn challenge the legitimacy and role of federal law

Published

on

In June 2019, the small Texas town of Waskom declared itself a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn.”

Waskom’s city council passed an ordinance that labels groups – like Planned Parenthood, NARAL and others – that perform abortions or assist women in obtaining them “criminal organizations.”

The ordinance borrows from a similar resolution passed in March by Roswell, New Mexico. Unlike the merely rhetorical Roswell resolution, however, the Texas law bans most abortions within city limits. There are no abortion providers in the town, so it is not clear how the town would enforce the ordinance. It might, perhaps, deter an organization from opening a clinic.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image