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Mining Ban Considered To Protect Bird Species In US West

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Biden administration says it is considering a ban on new mining on large expanses of public lands in Western states to protect a struggling bird species, the greater sage grouse.

The Interior Department review announced Tuesday will cover millions of acres of land and comes in response to a February court order.

A temporary ban on mining was imposed under former President Barack Obama but dropped by the Trump administration. The affected lands were in Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

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The wide-ranging, chicken-sized sage grouse has lost territory to human development and wildfires, and its population plummeted in recent decades.