Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Lawsuits target oil, gas leases in sage grouse habitat

A pair of lawsuits filed Monday target the Trump administration's sale of oil and gas leases on huge swaths of Western public lands that contain crucial habitat for an imperiled bird. Wildlife advocates asked courts to reverse lease sales on more than 1,300 square miles (3,400 square kilometers) of land in Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada, according to attorneys involved. The legal actions also sought to block several upcoming sales unless the U.S. Interior Department conducts further environmental reviews. Those leases would total more than 1,800 square miles (4,662 square kilometers) in the four states plus Idaho. Many of the parcels in dispute are home to greater sage grouse, a chicken-sized, ground-dwelling bird that ranges across portions of 11 Western states. Monday's lawsuits included one in Idaho filed by Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project, and another in Montana by the Montana Wildlife Federation, The Wilderness Society, National Audubon Society and National Wildlife Federation...MORE

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