CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- President Trump's administration has opened the door to industry-friendly changes to a sweeping plan imposed by his predecessor to protect a ground-dwelling bird across vast areas of the West.
Wildlife advocates warn that the proposed changes would undercut a hard-won struggle to protect the greater sage grouse.
Representatives of the ranching and energy industries cheered the policy shift as needed to give states flexibility.
A document outlining the recommended changes was released Monday by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
It recognized for the first time the importance of livestock grazing on sage grouse habitat, said Jim Magagna, executive vice president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.
It also backed away from requirements to keep rangeland grasses and shrubs at a prescribed minimum height, which ranchers had complained was arbitrary.
"I was very pleased with what I saw there in terms of the tone," Magagna said.