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Judge blocks drilling plans in 2 states, citing bird habitat

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A judge has halted plans for oil and gas drilling in vast areas of Wyoming and Montana, citing concerns about a sagebrush-dwelling bird. Idaho U.S. District Judge Ronald Bush ruled Wednesday the U.S. Bureau of Land Management didn’t adequately consider how the drilling would affect the greater sage grouse. Bush says the BLM also should have considered an option to defer drilling in the bird’s prime habitat. Bush ordered more study of potential effects on the bird before drilling may proceed. The Western Watersheds Project environmental group praised the ruling. BLM officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

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Associated Press

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