BLM Wyoming Sage Grouse
The Bureau of Land Management is discussing the agency's proposed changes to the Greater Sage-Grouse Management Plan in Wyoming.
Tracy Stone-Manning with the National Wildlife Federation, says the BLM's proposal would be a big step backwards.
"That whole concept of prioritizing leasing outside of habitat was born in Wyoming, came from the ground in Wyoming," she points out. "The governor's executive order calls for that. And now, Department of Interior is rethinking that cornerstone, and it's a problem."
More than 75 percent of the BLM's recent and upcoming oil and gas leases on public lands are located inside protected habitat across Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.
Stone-Manning argues the original plan includes meeting the needs of oil and gas companies, and ranchers, while protecting hundreds of species that depend on the Sagebrush Sea.
She says it's important for the BLM to give the plan time to work, and to keep public lands open for multiple uses.
"There are thousands of leases that have not been drilled, because the market is not demanding it," she points out. "There's no cause to put all of our chips on one thing called energy dominance."
Public comments on the proposed changes are being accepted through Aug. 2.