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Bird's fate shaping energy development in US West

2 years 5 days 21 hours ago December 04, 2014 Dec 4, 2014 Thursday, December 04 2014 December 04, 2014 10:07 AM in News
Source: Associated Press
By: Matthew Brown and Mead Gruver

SARATOGA, WY - Efforts to conserve a struggling species of grouse that ranges across the Western U.S. are having far-reaching effects on the region's energy industry.

The Obama administration faces a September 2015 to decide whether greater sage grouse need more protections.

Already sales of leases on 8.1 million acres of federal oil and gas parcels have been put on hold because of worries about the bird. That's according to government data obtained by The Associated Press.

The leasing delays underscore just how much is at stake with next year's decision on the chicken-sized, ground-dwelling grouse.

Its range covers portions of 11 states. Within that huge area are vast oil, gas and coal reserves and the best type of windy, open country for developing wind power.

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