|Posted by nationalforestlawblog on April 22, 2009 at 8:18 PM|
The San Francisco Chronicle has this report about a lawsuit that challenges the affects of western grazing on the Sage Grouse. However, instead of seeing a solution in litigation, this report says that the group hopes that the Obama administration will simply cave and reverse the decision of the Bush administration.
At issue in the lawsuit is the BLM's National Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Strategy. The agency adopted it in 2004 as an interim plan to help protect the bird and guide management of federal rangeland while the Fish and Wildlife Service considered whether to protect the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act.
However, ranchers have fought back and are represented by the Mountain States Legal Foundation.
Ranchers and drillers said the suit is part of an effort to keep livestock, energy development and other commercial activities off an area of the West bigger than the state of Indiana.
"They are trying to tie up 25 million acres and close it down to livestock operators altogether," said Ronald Opsahl, a lawyer for the Mountain States Legal Foundation, which represents the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Petroleum Association of Wyoming. "As far as the scope of this case, it has to be unprecedented."