Monday, September 28, 2015

Cue the greater sage-grouse lawsuits

...Hardline environmental groups were dismayed. For example, here’s the Center for Biological Diversity’s Randi Spivak: “Greater sage-grouse have been in precipitous decline for years and deserve better than what they’re getting from the Obama administration.” The CBD is considering its legal options, Spivak told Greenwire, and groups like Western Watersheds Project and WildEarth Guardians are as well (Most of the mainstream green groups, with a few exceptions like Defenders of Wildlife, are applauding the call). Ironically, though, the hardline groups are partly responsible for the decision they’ll be seeking to overturn. If it hadn’t been for the pressure of a deadline created by an environmental group’s lawsuit, it’s not likely that sage grouse conservation efforts would have ever been strengthened enough to circumvent a listing. Instead, things would have gone along as they did before the court-ordered deadline — some state-level planning, a few collaborative efforts, weak attempts at protecting sage grouse habitat on public land. Enviros won’t be the only ones filing lawsuits. The federal land management plans are sure to be challenged by the oil and gas industry as well, for placing too many restrictions on where and when it can operate. And some Western states are threatening litigation over those plans as well...more

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