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Heller Criticizes Proposed Sage Grouse Protection Plans

A Republican lawmaker is assailing a list of proposals for limiting Western mining to protect the vulnerable sage grouse, while an environmental group says it's a chance for the new administration to help with conservation.

The proposals released by the Obama administration on 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.

Nevada GOP Sen. Dean Heller calls the options an "11th-hour attack on Nevada and the West."

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Randi Spivak of the Center for Biological Diversity says all mining is harmful to sage grouse. She says President-elect Donald Trump's choice for interior secretary, Montana U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, could emulate the conservationist President Theodore Roosevelt by protecting the bird.

Zinke describes himself as "a Teddy Roosevelt Republican."