Utah auction pulls in less than the price of one Ford Focus
What’s more important to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke — protecting Utah’s most endangered population of sage-grouse or leasing their habitat to oil and gas companies for pocket change? An auction held this Tuesday made the answer quite clear — nothing is more important than profits for oil and gas companies, even protecting imperiled wildlife.
Sage-grouse, a chicken-sized bird once widespread in the West, have seen their populations drop dramatically in recent years, thanks in part to oil and gas development. In an effort to keep the sage-grouse off the endangered species list — a move that would limit all forms of development throughout the region — ranchers, conservationists, Western governors and the Obama administration spent years working on collaborative plans to help the species rebound. Widely hailed as a success, the plans resulted in former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announcing that the sage-grouse would avoid the endangered species list. Unfortunately, this success story is under assault. (more…)