After pushing to upend protective and critical greater sage-grouse habitat management plans from 2015, today the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced the release of supplemental environmental impact statements across seven Western states in an attempt to answer a judge’s preliminary injunction that blocked the BLM from putting the rollbacks in place.
Statement from Western Values Project Deputy Director Jayson O’Neill:
“Time and again, former oil and gas lobbyist turned-Interior Secretary Bernhardt proves all in for extractive corporate interests while disregarding Western voices who know the true value of America’s outdoor heritage. As numbers decline, we know the imperiled sage grouse and its habitat must be protected or a listing could be on the horizon. These supplemental revisions no doubt send the West down a path of no return and only add to the growing list of special interests favors doled out by the Trump administration at the expense of our public lands and wildlife.”
Though the BLM released six supplemental Environmental Impact Studies, Casey Hammond, acting Interior Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals, claims that the department would continue to move forward with the rollbacks during the appeal process, essentially ignoring the judge’s order and the rule of law. Indeed, Interior offered new oil and gas leases in critical sage-grouse habitat as recently as December 2019.
Western Values Project previously filed suit for sage grouse related public documents that uncovered the oil and gas industry’s influence over Interior during the sage grouse review, including meetings and comments that have been previously shielded from the public.