Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Nevada AG Laxalt frozen out of sage grouse lawsuit hearing

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who ruffled the feathers of Gov. Brian Sandoval when he joined a lawsuit challenging sage grouse protections, won't be allowed to argue Tuesday when a federal judge considers an injunction to block new public lands regulations, the judge ruled. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du, in an order issued Friday, said only the original plaintiffs in the case — Elko and Eureka counties, Quantum Minerals LLC and Western Exploration LLC — will be permitted to present issues and arguments. The AG's office, seven other counties, another mining firm and a ranch joined the lawsuit after the original suit was filed on Sept. 23. The first lawsuit was filed the day after Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would not list the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act because of continuing efforts by states and federal agencies to protect the bird's habitat. Critics argue new regulations for public land use imposed as an alternative to a listing are just as onerous and would hurt rural economies by curtailing mining, ranching and energy development. The attorney general's office and other counties added their names to the suit when an amended complaint against the federal government was filed Oct. 22. Du, in a two-page order limiting the scope of Tuesday's hearing, said the "added" plaintiffs didn't join in the motion for a preliminary injunction until last Thursday, less than a week away from the scheduled hearing...more

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