Thursday, January 21, 2016

Montana objects to mineral withdrawal on BLM lands

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, and Republican Attorney General Tim Fox object to a proposal by the federal government to withdraw 983,000 acres of federal lands from new hard rock mining claims to protect sage grouse, a prairie bird that was a candidate for the list of threatened and endangered species last year. In separate letters to Neil Kornze, director of the Bureau of Land Management, Bullock and Fox called the agency’s minerals withdrawal plan perplexing given the low potential for hard rock development in sage grouse habitat in northeastern Montana. Across the West, 10 million acres are proposed to be withdrawn, including the 983,000 acres in northeastern Montana. “There is no valid reason to withdraw almost a million acres of federal land,” Bullock said in a news release. “Montana’s recent success to ensure the future conservation of sage grouse provides the groundwork so that the impacts to sage grouse from mineral exploration and mining can be addressed.”...more

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