Laramie, WY – New research says sage grouse populations are suffering from energy drilling in the Wyoming's Powder River Basin.
Studies released this week by University of Montana professor Dave Naugle and other researchers say that sage grouse populations dropped by 86 percent from 2000 to 2005 in areas where there was coal-bed methane activity. The grouse populations outside those areas dropped by 35 percent.
The BLM says it will take the new information into account as it makes management decisions in the area.
Erik Molvar is spokesman for the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance in Laramie. He says that the findings should be a real wake-up call for the BLM.
Molvar says the agency is going to have to make significant changes to the way it permits oil and gas projects in the area if it wants to prevent the sage grouse from heading to extinction.