SALT LAKE CITY -- The Bureau of Land Management has unveiled its proposal for tightening protections for sage grouse habitat on about 4 million acres of public land around Utah.
Utah's proposal covers the entire state and tiny part of Wyoming. It is one of three draft environmental impact statements being put on the federal register Friday. The plans cover three full Western states, Utah, Nevada and Idaho, and slivers of three others, Wyoming, California and Montana.
BLM officials want to finalize plans by October 2014. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency is under court mandate to determine by 2015 if sage grouse deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Federal officials in Utah propose five alternatives, recommending one they believe balances protection of sage grouse habitat without completely prohibiting oil and gas drilling, mining or cattle grazing.