Oil and Gas Leasing on Public Lands: American Bird Conservancy Emphasizes Risk to Greater Sage-Grouse

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Greater Sage-Grouse lek by Agnieszka BacalShutterstock_610x400.png
Greater Sage-Grouse lek by Agnieszka Bacal/Shutterstock

(April 20, 2022) The current Administration announced on Friday, April 15 that it would resume selling oil and gas leases on public lands. And already this week, the Interior Department published final sale notices offering 144,000 acres across nine states. This is particularly concerning given its potential impact on the Greater Sage-Grouse, a species with shrinking habitat and declining numbers that continues to be barred from Endangered Species Act protections. 

In response, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) offers this comment:

“Oil and gas development is a major threat to birds, and in particular to Greater Sage-Grouse populations, which continue to decline,” said Steve Holmer, Vice President of Policy at ABC. “Past impacts from drilling in priority sagebrush habitats have yet to be addressed, and given recent climate studies outlining dire consequences for inaction, we are opposed to more fossil fuel development on public lands. It is time to prioritize renewables including rooftop solar and wind power — so long as wind energy facilities avoid high-risk areas for birds and are properly designed to minimize impacts.”

Greater Sage-Grouse have been exempt from the Endangered Species Act since 2014. ABC urges Congress to remove barriers to the protection of this iconic species — without substantial conservation measures, its range will continue to contract and its population decline. 

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