Feds, Environmental Groups Reach Deal To Settle Grouse Lawsuit

Lakewood (AP) The government and environmental groups
have a deal that'll settle a lawsuit in exchange for a federal decision on whether the Gunnison sage grouse should be listed as an endangered or threatened species. The agreement still needs a judge's approval.

It would require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to decide by March 31st whether the bird should be protected under the endangered species act. Environmental groups filed the federal lawsuit last year, seeking an order to protect the birds found in parts of southwest Colorado and southeast Utah.

The groups say the birds have lost much of their historic
habitat to development and also have been hit hard by drought.

Copyright 2005 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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