Trump’s U.S. Interior Department is trying to ease restrictions on energy development, mining and grazing on Western lands that may or may not be home to the sage grouse bird species, which may or may not be declining. Although Trump has sought to open the lands for economic development, he has been thwarted by a federal judge in Idaho over concerns for the bird.
However, Casey Hammond, The Interior Secretary for Trump, released environmental studies on Friday that explained an alternative plan to save the bird’s habitat that will still allow the land to be used for much-needed production.
The Interior Department opened a 45-day public comment period that affects land in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon and California.Land in Montana and the Dakotas is currently unafect.
The legal dispute over the administration’s proposal is before Judge B. Lynn Winmill – appointed by President Bill Clinton – In Idaho. After being sued in 2016 on behalf of environmentalists, the Obama Administration buckled under the pressure and further restricted access to the lands in order to save the birds.
If the Interior Department’s studies are approved, it will ease access to the land and likely change Interior Department policy.