"No Endangered Status for Plains Bird"
"The Interior Department said Friday that the greater sage grouse, a dweller of the high plains of the American West, was facing extinction but would not be designated an endangered species for now.
Yet the decision in essence reverses a 2004 determination by the Bush administration that the sage grouse did not need protection, a decision that a federal court later ruled was tainted by political tampering with the Interior Department's scientific conclusions.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a conservative Democrat from a Colorado ranching family, sought to carve a middle course between conservationists who wanted ironclad protections for the ground-hugging bird and industry interests and landowners who sought the ability to locate mines, wells, windmills and power lines in areas where the grouse roam.
Mr. Salazar said that scientists at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service had concluded that the sage grouse deserved inclusion on the endangered species list but that other species were facing more imminent threats, leading the government to assign the bird a status known as 'warranted but precluded.'"Source: NYTimes, 03/08/2010