The U.S. Forest Service is advancing changes to sage grouse protections in five Western states -- that environmental groups say are part of the Trump administration's efforts favoring industry, but that push the imperiled bird closer to extinction.
The agency on Friday made public draft plans altering rules put in place in 2015 by the Obama administration, generally viewed as keeping the bird from being listed for federal protections under the Endangered Species Act.
The new plans cover 8,000 square miles of greater sage grouse habitat on Forest Service land in Idaho, Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming and Utah.
The agency says the changes will continue sage grouse protections -- while improving efficiency and aligning federal efforts more closely with states.
Public comments are being taken for ninety days.
(by Keith Ridler, Associated Press)