Governor orders state agencies to protect grouse

Cheyenne, Wyo. – Gov. Dave Freudenthal has ordered Wyoming state agencies to work together to protect sage grouse.

A federal judge in Idaho has ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its ruling that the birds don't deserve protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Freudenthal says that federal protection for the birds would harm Wyoming's energy economy.

Freudenthal's order maps out sage grouse areas around the state where future energy development would be discouraged.

Environmentalists say the sage grouse population already has declined dramatically in Wyoming. They say that while the governor's plan is well-intentioned, it doesn't promise much real protection because much of the land has already been leased for development.