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Nov 16, 2014

Can this grouse stop oil and gas drilling?

Photo by Dave Showalter/AP
Gunnison Sage Grouse
Centrocercus minimus
This photo of a Gunnison Sage Grouse with tail feathers fanned in classic style was taken by photographer Dave Showalter near Gunnison, Colorado.   U.S. federal officials announced this week that the Gunnison Sage Grouse has been granted protection under the endangered species act, which could restrict oil and gas development and other land use in Colorado and Utah, the only two American states that are home to this grouse.   About 1.4 million acres will be designated as critical habitat for the 5,000 Gunnison Sage Grouse that remain in south-western Colorado and south-eastern Utah.   The Gunnison Sage Grouse is related to the Greater Sage Grouse, which is at the centre of a separate debate over federal protection across 11 western states.   The environmental group WildEarth Guardians which filed suit to force the decision calls the granted protection inadequate and said the bird should have been granted more stringent 'endangered' status. 

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