The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under President Joe Biden is reviewing a bird habitat opened for mining during the Trump administration, following through on an announcement in May.
A February 2021 court order vacated the previous administration's cancellation of the proposed withdrawal of federal lands in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming that are home to the greater sage grouse.
"The BLM is restarting this process to fully consider one of the management actions that may be necessary to allow sage-grouse to thrive on our public lands," Nada Wolff Culver, BLM deputy director for policy and programs, wrote in a statement Tuesday.
"As part of these efforts, and in accordance with a recent court order, the BLM will revise its environmental analysis of the need for proposed withdrawals using the best-available science and continued engagement with our many stakeholders."
Judge Lynn Winmill, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, ruled in February the Trump administration did not adequately justify removing protections to the 10 million-acre area in question.
"The new data showed that the impacts from locatable mining was more significant than the previous data showed," Winmill's ruling read, according to The Hill. "The new data does not, therefore, provide a reasoned explanation for the BLM's change in position regarding the withdrawal. If anything, this new data indicated a greater need for the withdrawal from locatable mining than the previous data."
The land analyzed will remain open to location and entry under the mining laws while the review takes place.
"We will again rely on science and work closely with all partners in the cooperative fashion that has served us well for more than a decade," Culver's statement added. "Our goal continues to be balanced, sustainable management of sagebrush ecosystems, which benefits hundreds of other species in addition to sage-grouse as well as public land users and local communities across the West."
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