Group Files New Lawsuit Over Sage Grouse

By Beacon Staff

BOISE, Idaho – An environmental group has filed another legal challenge over the federal government’s decision not to give the sage grouse protection under the Endangered Species Act.

In March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruled the sage grouse warranted threatened or endangered status, but formal listing under the law was precluded by other agency priorities.

Western Watersheds Project filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Boise Friday. The group’s lawyers compare the decision to putting the bird in the “black hole” of species denied protective status.

It’s a separate case from the legal challenge that forced the agency to reconsider its 2005 decision not to grant the bird protection.

Once abundant in the West the bird’s population has declined due to grazing, wildfires, energy development and other influences on its habitat.