By ERICA GOODEOCT. 5, 2015
A male greater sage grouse performed mating rituals for a female grouse, not pictured, on a lake outside Walden, Colo. Credit David Zalubowski/Associated Press
When the Obama administration announced last month that it would not add the greater sage grouse to the endangered species list, some conservation groups predictably criticized the ruling.
“It’s a sign that politics as usual has taken over the process,” said Erik Molvar of WildEarth Guardians, which had lobbied to protect the bird.
A more surprising development was that many other environmental organizations applauded the decision and the Interior Department’s proactive approach: With the threat of regulation under the Endangered Species Act hanging in the background, the department prodded states, federal agencies and private landowners to work together on a conservation plan that could make an endangered listing unnecessary.