As the Bureau of Land Management begins to offer greater protections for Sage Grouse, those in the conservation community are welcoming the news. Steve Holmer with the American Bird Conservancy says with the Sage Grouse listed as a candidate for Endangered Species Act Protection the new approach is overdue.
Holmer-"You know, I think to their credit, BLM is trying to get ahead of this issue. We’re pleased to see the BLM adopt this strategy – they’re on the right track."
Holmer says the government has long neglected balancing energy development with other uses of the land. The B-L-M is reworking 80 land use plans in Wyoming and the west in an effort to offer greater protections for Sage Grouse. Eric Molvar of Biodiversity Conservation Alliance says a lot can be done.
Molvar-“Using directional drilling to cluster as many as 50 wells on a single well-pad, instead of spreading them out across the entire landscape – and putting some of the key sage grouse habitats off-limits to surface occupancy for oil and gas.”
Molvar sees the new B-L-M plan as an opportunity to set development standards in Wyoming that still allow for production – while also protecting sage grouse habitat.