RMW’s wildlife win for Gunnison sage-grouse in Court

By: Chris Talbot-Heindl, Rocky Mountain Wild
May 3, 2018

Gunnison sage-grouse
Gunnison sage-grouse. Photo by: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Yesterday we had a great wildlife win for Gunnison sage-grouse in Court! Last October, Rocky Mountain Wild (RMW), San Miguel County, San Juan Citizens Alliance, and Conservation Colorado brought a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over the agency’s decision to lease public lands for oil and gas without properly considering the environmental impacts. The parcels that were sold in the Colorado BLM’s March 2017 lease sale will impact important Gunnison sage-grouse habitat and leks used for Gunny’s unique mating dance. Gunny was officially listed in 2014 under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as a threatened species that required protections, including protections of their critical habitat. The BLM filed a Motion to Dismiss our ESA claims.

Yesterday morning, RMW’s staff attorney, Matt Sandler, successfully argued against the Motion to Dismiss our ESA Claims! Judge Matsch denied the government’s Motion from the bench.

“We are pleased that the Court understood that leasing parcels for oil and gas development has impacts,” said Matt Sandler, staff attorney for RMW, “Now we will be able to move forward with our Endangered Species Act claims in hopes that the Court will rule that the BLM violated the law by not considering the impacts of leasing parcels adjacent to important sage-grouse habitat.”

It was a great day for Rocky Mountain Wild, our partners, and especially for our friend, Gunny! #StandWithGunny

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