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Mining Deemed Threat to Sage-Grouse; Millions of Acres Withdrawn

Cara J

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In September 2015 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to refrain from listing the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) under the Endangered Species Act. The decision was based in part on the finalization of federal plans which aim to protect about 50 million acres of sage-grouse habitat across 10 states. This effort to conserve the species without listing it was hailed as a conservation success by some, and roused suspicion in others. The Bureau of Land Management is in the process of finalizing land management plans to help conserve the sage-grouse. Over 5,000 comments were received regarding a 10-million-acre withdrawal from mining claims on BLM and Forest Service lands, which are deemed important primary habitat for greater sage-grouse under the federal plans. Responses to the proposed withdrawal have greatly varied. Some groups believe this 10-million-acre withdrawal is not enough to adequately protect sage-grouse habitat. A coalition of 80 organizations sent a letter asking that the withdrawal be extended to include roughly 35 million acres. On the other hand, the National Mining Association sent its own 102-page letter which underscores the lands’ mineral richness and states BLM has not demonstrated that protecting these lands is necessary for accomplishing sage-grouse conservation. In [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/mining-deemed-threat-to-sage-grouse-millions-of-acres-withdrawn/

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