The Obama administration is establishing new to limits on public land uses in 10 Western states to protect the habitat of the ground dwelling greater sage grouse. The federal efforts are an attempt to prevent a continued decline in sage grouse numbers which could necessitate listing the sage grouse as threatened or endangered. The new limits are the federal government's biggest land-planning effort to date to conserve a single species.
The proposal would affect energy development. Among other actions, the regulations would require oil and gas wells to be clustered in groups of a half-dozen or more to avoid scattering them across habitat of the greater sage grouse. Drilling near breeding areas would be prohibited during mating season, and power lines would be moved away from prime habitat to avoid serving as perches for raptors who prey on sage grouse.