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US judge cancels oil and gas leases on some sage grouse land

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Posted at 8:51 PM, Feb 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-29 22:51:31-05

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal judge has cancelled more than $125 million in oil and gas leases sold on public lands that are home to the declining bird species greater sage grouse.

The ruling doesn't prevent the administration from selling the leases at a later date, but opponents hope the delay can help them make the case that drilling should not be allowed in areas with sage grouse.

The judge said the Trump administration illegally curtailed public comment on the sales that included more than 1,300 square miles in Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

Wyoming's governor says millions of dollars from the sales already has been incorporated into the state's budget.