“It's a nothing burger. It's a parting shot on the way out the door," said Greta Anderson with Western Watershed Project, one of the group's involved in the legal case. “We don't expect the Biden administration to defend these terrible plans.”
Sage grouse once numbered in the millions but have seen their range that stretches across portions of 11 states diminished by oil and gas drilling, wildfires, grazing and other pressures.
The Obama administration, with Biden as vice president, adopted restrictions in 2015 meant to protect the best grouse habitat and keep the bird off the threatened and endangered species list.
Under Trump, the Interior Department in 2017 began to ease the restrictions on drilling, mining and other activities and adopted new land use plans for the seven states in 2019. Months later, the changes were blocked — and the Obama plans restored — by U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in Boise, Idaho.
Bureau of Land Management officials did not reply to emailed questions about whether they will ask Winmill to lift his injunction.
The Trump administration changes would have affected public land in Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California and Oregon. Sage grouse territory in Montana, Washington and the Dakotas would not be affected.