The governors of Wyoming and Montana say a federal plan to protect the greater sage grouse is far more restrictive than Western states’ own programs to help the struggling species.
They told the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday to rewrite major portions of a draft federal policy for protecting the ground-dwelling bird.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead says the BLM is wrong to portray livestock grazing as a threat to sage grouse. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock says the federal plan would prohibit oil and gas leasing.
A court has told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to decide by Sept. 30 whether the birds need protection as a threatened or endangered species. A decision to list could severely restrict oil and gas drilling and other development in the region.