Laramie, Wy – Conservationists say the federal
government needs to impose new restrictions on oil and gas
development in the West because current policies are failing to
protect sage grouse.
They cited a new study of the birds in western Wyoming that
showed development negatively affecting sage grouse populations.
Sage grouse inhabit large areas of the western United States,
including Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Montana where energy
development is booming.
The health of sage grouse has been a concern of conservationists
and wildlife managers because of the loss of habitat. But the
federal government has rejected listing the ground-dwelling bird
under the Endangered Species Act.
The Bureau of Land Management has acknowledged that sage grouse
can be affected by oil and gas development. But conservationists
say more needs to be done, such as requiring less disruptive
drilling methods like directional drilling.