Mining ban considered to protect bird species in US West

Sage Grouse Montana

FILE – In this April 21, 2007 file photo, Greater sage grouse perform their annual mating ritual near a blind south of the North Park community of Walden, Colo. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 ordered restrictions on oil drilling and other activities blamed for driving down sage grouse populations, as Montana falls into step with states across the West rushing to head off federal intervention for the ground-dwelling bird. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Biden administration says it is considering a ban on new mining on large expanses of public lands in Western states to protect a struggling bird species, the greater sage grouse.

The Interior Department review announced Tuesday will cover millions of acres of land and comes in response to a February court order.

A temporary ban on mining was imposed under former President Barack Obama but dropped by the Trump administration.

The affected lands were in Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

The wide-ranging, chicken-sized sage grouse has lost territory to human development and wildfires, and its population plummeted in recent decades.

Categories: National News, Politics & Elections, Wyoming News