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US officials extend consideration of Montana bison proposal

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal officials say they’ll give the public more time to comment on a contentious proposal to expand bison grazing on public lands in north-central Montana.

The move comes after Gov. Greg Gianforte criticized the Bureau of Land Management for holding just one virtual meeting on the proposal covering about 108 square miles south of Malta.

Some ranchers strongly oppose plans by a Bozeman-based conservation group to eventually assemble a huge expanse of public and private lands for at least 10,000 bison.

Federal officials signaled their preliminary approval of the grazing plan earlier this month.

They did not agree to Gianforte’s request for at least five in-person meetings before a final decision.

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