New federal rules designed to protect sage grouse habitat will also restrict oil and gas drilling, reports the Associated Press. In South Dakota, both the sage grouse habitat and the bulk of oil and gas activity lie in the northwestern part of the state.
The move -- announced May 28, 2015 -- amounts to the "federal government's biggest land-planning effort to date for conservation of a single species," reports the AP. The plan would require oil and gas drills to be clustered rather than located across a wider area of habitat.
The government states:
The updated plans are central to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's review of the native grouse's "candidate" status under the Endangered Species Act, which is due Sept. 30, 2015.
What was released May 28 was a series of environmental impact statements, which will be followed by a 60-day review period and then a final decision expected by the end of the summer, according to a government news release.
"The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) have finalized environmental review for proposed land use plans that will conserve key sagebrush habitat, address identified threats to the greater sage-grouse and promote sustainable economic development in the West," reads a Fact Sheet about the 10-state initiative.
South Dakota's neighbor to the west, Wyoming, has the largest sage grouse population among the 10 states.
Information about South Dakota's Resource Management Plan from the Bureau of Land Management
South Dakota Resource Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement from the Bureau of Land Management