BOISE - Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says the state has to be vigilant monitoring the federal government's creation of a new sage grouse conservation plan because of federal employees who worked on the previous plan that caused Otter to file a lawsuit.
Otter told state workers at an Idaho Land Board meeting Tuesday that they can't allow federal workers he called "leftovers" from President Barack Obama's administration to create a plan similar to the 2015 version Otter says is too restrictive.
The Interior Department last week opened a public comment period to amend the plan concerning the chicken-size bird found in 11 Western states.
Millions of sage grouse once roamed the West. But development, livestock grazing and an invasive grass that encourages wildfires reduced the bird's population to fewer than 500,000.
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