October 17, 2019

Idaho Judge issued preliminary injunction that reinstates at least temporarily 2015 greater sage grouse plans

On October 16 an Idaho federal district judge issued a preliminary injunction that has reinstated temporarily the 2015 greater sage grouse plans.  These 2015 BLM plans, including the plan in Colorado, were the result of collaborative work by diverse stakeholders over several years to fashion measures designed to help protect this imperiled bird and its sagebrush habitat relied upon by many other species in northwest Colorado. The 2015 Colorado plan specified some grouse habitat as closed to leasing that became opened in the 2019 plan that superseded it.  If BLM appeals the ruling then the 2019 plan likely would be reinstated during the appeal. The question now during this interim period pending an appeal or final ruling is what BLM will do with the parcels within a 1-mile radius of sage grouse leks it leased in its September oil and gas lease sale but has not not yet transferred to the successful bidders.  In addition, BLM has proposed to lease several similar parcels in its December and March 2020 lease sales.  At the least, those parcels should be removed from consideration in those sales, pending an appeal or final ruling.

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