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Obama Admin. Floats Potential Sage Grouse Plans

The Obama administration has released five possible plans for limiting mining on federal land in the West to protect the vulnerable greater sage grouse, but it isn't saying which it prefers.

The proposals released Thursday range from banning new mining activity on about 15,000 square miles for up to 20 years to imposing no additional restrictions on mine locations.

The rules would affect land in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

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Under all the options, mining-related projects already approved could proceed.

After a public comment period, the incoming Trump administration will decide which option to choose, if any.

Sage grouse live in 11 Western states, but their numbers are down significantly because of habitat loss.

The proposals are part of a draft environmental impact statement drawn up by the federal Bureau of Land Management.