The Latest: Senator, activist clash on ways to save bird

AP News
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Posted: Dec 29, 2016 5:23 PM
The Latest: Senator, activist clash on ways to save bird

DENVER (AP) — The Latest on potential restrictions on mining in the West to save the greater sage grouse (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

A Republican lawmaker is assailing a list of proposals for limiting Western mining to protect the vulnerable sage grouse, while an environmental group says it's a chance for the new administration to help with conservation.

The proposals released by the Obama administration on Thursday range from banning new mining activity on about 15,000 square miles for up to 20 years to imposing no additional restrictions on mine locations.

Nevada GOP Sen. Dean Heller calls the options an "11th-hour attack on Nevada and the West."

Randi Spivak of the Center for Biological Diversity says all mining is harmful to sage grouse. She says President-elect Donald Trump's choice for interior secretary, Montana U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, could emulate the conservationist President Theodore Roosevelt by protecting the bird.

Zinke describes himself as "a Teddy Roosevelt Republican."

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10:40 a.m.

The Obama administration has released five possible plans for limiting mining on federal land in the West to protect the vulnerable greater sage grouse, but it isn't saying which it prefers.

The proposals released Thursday range from banning new mining activity on about 15,000 square miles for up to 20 years to imposing no additional restrictions on mine locations.

The rules would affect land in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

Under all the options, mining-related projects already approved could proceed.

After a public comment period, the incoming Trump administration will decide which option to choose, if any.

Sage grouse live in 11 Western states, but their numbers are down significantly because of habitat loss.

The proposals are part of a draft environmental impact statement drawn up by the federal Bureau of Land Management. The document is available at http://bit.ly/2ic6DQn.

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8:30 a.m.

The Obama administration is releasing five possible plans for limiting mining on federal land in the West to protect the vulnerable greater sage grouse, but it isn't saying which it prefers.

Proposals to be released Thursday range from banning new mining activity on about 15,000 square miles for up to 20 years to imposing no additional restrictions on mine locations.

The Associated Press obtained the outlines of the proposals in advance.

The rules would affect land in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

Under all the options, mining-related projects already approved could proceed.

After a public comment period, the incoming Trump administration will decide which option to choose, if any.

Sage grouse live in 11 Western states, but their numbers are down significantly because of habitat loss.