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Group Sues To Get Grouse On Endangered List

A conservation group is going to court to get a local bird on the endangered species list.

The greater sage grouse is a small bird that lives among the sagebrush in Idaho and surrounding states.

The Western Watersheds Project says it is in danger of going extinct.

But it seems the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t agree and hasn’t decided to put the sage grouse among the list of endangered species.

So the WWP has taken FWS to court. On Wednesday, the WWP asked District Judge Lynn Winmill in Pocatello to force the Fish and Wildlife Service to say the grouse is endangered.

“The human induced changes in the landscape that put the sage grouse habitat at risk are actually accelerating,? WWP Executive Director Jon Marvel said.

The federal agency said that the current habitat should be enough for many years and the service has to prioritize what’s in urgent danger.

But the WWP said the decision has a lot more to do with money and politics.

“There’s a lot of opposition to the listing of sage grouse from politicians, ranchers, and oil and gas development, and as a result, Fish and Game is not very interested in taking them on,? Marvel said.

Most of the sage grouse habitat is on public lands.

And in the event the sage grouse was put on the endangered species list, it wouldn’t be business as usual on managed lands.

“We certainly will not be shutting down public lands, but we will definitely have to take a harder look before authorizing actions in the event they may impact the sage grouse,? Bureau of Land Management field office manager David Pacioretty said.

Regardless of what happens with the court case, the BLM is taking steps to protect the sage grouse. Public meetings will be held on the issue over the next month.

Winmill is expected to rule on the court case quickly.

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