In 2015, the Obama Administration announced its conservation plans for the greater sage-grouse, an iconic bird of the intermountain west.Political leadership at the time described those plans as the “largest landscape-level conservation effort in U.S. history,”and they served as the foundation for a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) that a listing of the bird was not warranted under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The Trump Administration appears poised to substantially amend the plans, although an array of interested parties have urged that the plans be left intact. Regardless of the outcome of this debate, conservation of the greater sage-grouse exemplifies persistent controversies about federal protections for declining species and the effects such protections may have on property owners and economic actors.
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