BLM hosts sage grouse meetings in Utah Tues, Wed, Thurs

VERNAL, Utah (AP) — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is hosting three public meetings in Utah this week to gather input on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s plans to reassess sage grouse management policies adopted under the Obama administration.

The evening scoping sessions are scheduled Tuesday in Vernal, Wednesday in Cedar City and Thursday in Snowville. They’re the last of a series of meetings held across the West in recent weeks.

Zinke says he wants to make sure the land planning amendments don’t harm local economies.

Conservationists say it’s a thinly veiled attempt to allow more livestock grazing and drilling, similar to President Trump’s efforts to roll back national monument designations. They warn it could land the hen-sized bird on the endangered species list in 2020 when the Fish and Wildlife Service is scheduled to review its 2015 decision not to list it.

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