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US backs off plan for drilling on land where rare bird lives

Posted at 1:31 PM, Oct 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-21 15:31:04-04

DENVER (AP) — The Trump administration is canceling plans to sell oil and gas drilling rights on public land in Colorado where an imperiled Western bird lives.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management said Friday it was removing 230 square miles (600 square kilometers) of land from a planned December auction.

Colorado’s top-ranking Democrats, Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, had asked the bureau to reconsider the sale. The land is habitat for the greater sage grouse, which Western states and federal agencies are trying to protect.

The withdrawal leaves about 130 square miles (340 square kilometers) in the December auction, but it wasn’t clear if the government planned to add to that.

The government also pushed the sale back by a week, from Dec. 6 to Dec. 13.