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Colorado threatens lawsuit over federal sage-grouse restrictions


GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado — Colorado officials say they are prepared to file a lawsuit if Interior Secretary Sally Jewell tries to list the Gunnison sage-grouse as endangered.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed the Gunnison sage-grouse for listing under the Endangered Species Act and is to decide on the bird's status and to designate areas of critical habitat for the species by May 12.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports ( ) there are about 4,000 of the birds in Colorado's Gunnison Basin.

Opponents say protecting the Gunnison sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act could impose strict land-use restrictions on hundreds of thousands of acres where the bird is found.

Supporters say sage-grouse populations have fallen 90 percent in the past century and plans to protect the birds won't get the job done.

Information from: The Daily Sentinel,

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