Drew Caputo, VP of Litigation for Lands, Wildlife, Oceans: “I get that they’re being pressured politically. I get that there are thin margins. But the climate crisis doesn’t care about any of that stuff.”
The U.S. District Court in Montana struck down the Trump administration’s attempt to gut a key part of the Bureau of Land Management’s 2015 plan to save the greater sage-grouse, an iconic bird species of the Western United States. The court invalidated a December 2017 BLM policy directive that has allowed millions of acres of oil and gas leasing in sensitive sage-grouse habitat. The court also struck down 440 oil and gas leases, covering about 336,000 acres (525 square miles), that BLM sold as part of its policy reversal.
Conservationists filed suit in U.S. District Court in Montana against the Bureau of Land Management and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to demand that the administration uphold the deal made to save the greater sage-grouse and its habitat in 10 Western states. Under this administration, leasing and proposed leasing in sage-grouse habitat has increased, threatening the…
This case challenges the Trump Administration’s systematic disregard of legally binding land management plans adopted to protect the greater sage-grouse. Greater sage-grouse once numbered in the millions across much of the western United States. The Lewis and Clark expedition and numerous other nineteenth-century observers commented on the birds’ abundance, and the grouse is an integral part of the western landscape. In recent decades, however, grouse populations have plummeted throughout their range due to habitat loss and fragmentation caused by oil and natural gas development and other activities.