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Published March 09, 2010, 09:17 AM

Group challenges sage grouse finding

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — An environmental group is challenging Interior Department plans to classify sage grouse as a candidate for protection and not as threatened or endangered.

By: Mead Gruver, Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — An environmental group is challenging Interior Department plans to classify sage grouse as a candidate for protection and not as threatened or endangered.

The department announced Friday that protection is warranted but precluded by higher priorities — species more in need of protection right now.

Western Watersheds questions that finding in a supplemental complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Boise, Idaho.

Group attorney Laird Lucas says the notion that sage grouse aren’t a high priority for protection seems unlikely after the government spent considerable time and money studying whether sage grouse deserve protection.

Western Watersheds sued in 2006 over a previous decision not to list sage grouse.

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