For Immediate Release

DOI Drops Mining Withdrawal on 10 Million Acres of Sage-Grouse Habitat; Opens Sage-Grouse Plans for Revision

WASHINGTON (Oct. 5, 2017) – Acting on direction from Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has announced that it will abandon the current public decision-making process to protect vital habitat for greater sage-grouse from mining in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming and will instead open federal sage-grouse conservation plans with the intent of weakening protections for the species.

The mineral withdrawal was a key component of the National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy, the federal government’s unprecedented effort to conserve sage-grouse that became a target of the Trump administration this summer. Having cancelled the withdrawal, the BLM will also soon publish a notice in the Federal Register to solicit public comments on proposed revisions to the planning strategy that would harm sage-grouse and hundreds of other wildlife species.

Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:

“Secretary Zinke’s actions are an insult to the hundreds of conservationists, landowners, communities and other stakeholders who spent years developing a collaborative plan to conserve sage-grouse across the West.

“In fact, while the Trump administration works to weaken the federal conservation strategy, scientists recommend doing the opposite. The latest research advises strengthening conservation measures to protect and restore sage-grouse, which also benefits hundreds of other wildlife species, sagebrush grasslands and the Western communities and economies that depend on them.

“Secretary Zinke should not throw away the hard work of many to appease the special interests of a few.”

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.


North atlantic right whale and calf
Boston, MA

Critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whale Population Drops to Estimated 336

Today, the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium announced that the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale’s population continued its decade-long decline, dropping from 366 in 2019 to 336 in 2020—an 8% decline.
Canal Run Okefenokee NWR
Atlanta, GA

Former State and Federal Officials Decry Proposed Mining Project

In a full-page letter published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution yesterday, a bipartisan group of eight former state and federal officials, including two cabinet secretaries, spoke out against a proposed titanium mine on the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp.