Oil, Gas Industry Challenges Efforts to Protect Western Bird
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Representatives of the oil and gas industry say they are suing the Obama administration over drilling restrictions meant to protect a struggling bird that ranges across 11 Western states.
Thursday's announcement comes from the Western Energy Alliance and North Dakota Petroleum Council.They said local and state efforts to prop up populations of greater sage grouse have been effective, and changes to federal land use policies are not needed. The move marks the oil industry's first attempt to undo federal policies that already have drawn widespread opposition.
Environmentalists say there are too many loopholes in new rules on oil and gas drilling, grazing and other activities blamed for the bird's long-term decline. Mining companies, ranchers and officials in Utah, Idaho and Nevada have argued the rules impede economic development.