BILLINGS — A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to ease some rules on mining, drilling and grazing across millions of acres in seven U.S. Western states.
Judge B. Lynn Winmill said changes adopted by the administration in March likely would cause further declines in populations of greater sage grouse.
The ground-dwelling bird is at the center of a bitter conflict between the administration and conservationists how much of the West’s expansive public lands should be opened to development.
The judge’s Wednesday restraining order means government officials must fall back on previous rules that were adopted under President Barack Obama.
It affects public land in Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California and Oregon.
Grouse habitats in Montana, Washington and the Dakotas were not impacted by the Trump rule changes.
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