Sage Grouse avoids endangered listing

From The Hill

Wildlife officials announced Tuesday that the greater sage-grouse does not need protection as an endangered species.

The announcement puts to rest a major chapter in the debate over the chicken-sized bird, which has become one of the most controversial species over the last year amid fights between Republicans, oil interests, conservationists, the Obama administration and others.

Development and oil drilling has threatened the sagebrush ecosystem, which once covered vast portions of the West and still stretches across 11 states. The ecosystem is the habitat for the sage-grouse, which has seen its population drop about 90 percent from its 19th-century levels. Read the rest of the story here.