A Colorado lawsuit filed in Denver federal court on Tuesday alleges the U.S. Bureau of Land Management failed to consult with wildlife managers and complete endangered species reviews before selling leases in March, according to a report by The Associated Press.
The lawsuit — filed by San Miguel County, Rocky Mountain Wild, San Juan Citizens Alliance and Conservation Colorado – asserts that nine oil and gas leases on public land in southwestern Colorado should be invalidated due to the threat posted to the Gunnison sage grouse species.
In Colorado, the Gunnison sage grouse is currently defined as threatened but not endangered. It became protected under the Endangered Species Act of 2014. The Gunnison grouse was recognized as genetically distinct from the greater grouse in 2000. Only around 5,000 of the species remain in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah.