By Bob Beck
Laramie, WY – An Interior Department official said this week that the federal government must take action to conserve shrinking sage grouse populations. Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary Julie Jacobson made the comments before industry representatives who object the increased oversight of new oil and gas activity in Wyoming and Montana. But Jacobson says research shows that the sage grouse is affected by energy development, so they are choosing to slow down development. Wyoming Audubon Director Brian Rutledge says the Interior Department has little choice.
Rutledge says other types of wildlife are also being impacted. But industry officials say that some of the studies showing wildlife reductions are flawed and are considering new studies to bolster their position.