A government study with significant implications for the U.S. energy industry says the breeding grounds of a struggling bird species need a 3-mile or larger buffer from oil and gas drilling, wind farms and solar projects.
Federal officials granted protection to the Gunnison sage grouse on Wednesday, a move that could bring restrictions on oil and gas drilling and other activity to preserve the bird’s habitat in parts of Colorado and Utah.
Colorado is seeking a delay in a decision by federal officials on whether to protect the Gunnison sage grouse, saying voluntary measures could help save the bird.
An obscure, chicken-sized bird best known for its mating dance could help determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the U.S. Senate in November.
The federal government this week declared more than 400,000 acres in southwestern Colorado and eastern Utah off-limits to energy exploration or any other kind of development to protect the Gunnison sage grouse.
A federal decision on protecting the Gunnison sage-grouse in Colorado and Utah has been postponed again.
Federal wildlife managers have postponed by six weeks a decision on whether to protect the Gunnison sage grouse, a bird found only in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah.
Ten Western Colorado area counties have united to maintain local control of conservation efforts of a rare bird that was classified as a species in 2000.
Colorado cattlemen say millions of dollars spent protecting the Gunnison sage grouse will be wasted if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service goes ahead with plans to protect the chicken-like bird as an endangered species.