Saturday, October 08, 2016

Feds Thinking About Killing 31,000 Mining Jobs To Protect A Chicken

by Andrew Follett

A new report has government officials considering setting 10 million acres of across six states in the American west off limits to mining and development to protect the chicken-like Greater Sage Grouse, which is not an endangered species.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report found that much of the Sage Grouse’s habitat sits on top of extremely valuable deposits of minerals including gold, copper, lithium, silver, uranium and many others. The USGS report means that the government’s most restrictive grouse protection plan could kill even more than 31,000 jobs and lead to more than $5.6 billion in reduced annual economic output, estimated by a Western Energy Alliance report.

Federal agencies have already frozen new mining claims across the 10 million acres while they do another environmental impact study.

The Sage Grouse is not listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said the grouse doesn’t need federal protections under the Act for at least the next 4 years. Research from the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies published in 2015 found that the species’ population had increased by 63 percent over the last two years to a total breeding population of 424,645.

Federal officials previously told state governments to create plans to protect the grouse, but are now going back on their own word to force federal grouse conservation plans which would slow or stop development.

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