Judge stops Wyoming oil and gas drilling on public lands because of sage grouse



A federal judge this week stayed part of his ruling tossing oil and gas leases in Wyoming greater sage-grouse habitat, but suspended oil and gas operations on the parcels pending an appeal.

Judge Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana in May tossed out 440 oil and gas leases in greater sage-grouse habitat in Montana and Wyoming.

He ruled that the Bureau of Land Management failed to follow its own plans for protecting the chicken-sized bird.

The bird is an indicator species for the health of the sagebrush ecosystem, which often intersects with oil and gas industry.

A federal judge in Boise, Idaho issued a similarly harsh ruling in February, cancelling more than $125 million in oil and gas leases on public lands that also are home to the sage grouse. The judge said the Trump administration illegally curtailed public comment.


Source: Bloomberg Law