The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced on Thursday, Oct. 5, that the agency will no longer consider removing millions of acres of land for hard rock mining in sage-grouse habitat across six states.
This action means 265,000 acres in Wyoming will not be withdrawn from hard rock mining.
“The BLM’s original proposal put at risk potential future development that could have brought the state millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs. That proposal was unnecessary because Wyoming already has a system in place that protects sage-grouse while allowing for development of these minerals,” said Governor Mead. “I thank Secretary Zinke for cancelling the proposal.”
The BLM also announced the agency will be taking public comment on the federal Greater sage-grouse management plans. The plans affect the management of sage-grouse habitat across millions of acres in 10 Western states. Wyoming is home to approximately 42% of the range-wide population.
“We’re roughly two years into having sage-grouse not listed under the Endangered Species Act. This is a good thing for the bird and energy development. As BLM looks to make changes to its federal plans, I would encourage the agency to find ways to better align with Wyoming’s state plan,” continued Governor Mead. “Folks representing energy, agriculture, recreation and conservation all came together to help frame the state’s plan to ensure a strong habitat for sage-grouse in Wyoming. There are positive changes that can be made to the federal plans, but we should be careful and thoughtful about how we do that. Wyoming will be engaged in this process and will continue to work with the BLM.”