MTPR

Earthjustice

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead (center) has spearheaded a review of species conservation and the Endangered Species Act for the Western Governors Association since 2015.
NIcky Ouellet

Western governors are calling on Congress to amend the federal Endangered Species Act, with an eye for increasing the role of state governments in the use of the law.

The Western Governors Association made recommendations Wednesday for what states and federal agencies can do to improve species conservation and recovery.

For the first time in more than four decades, the Yellowstone grizzly bear is set to lose its federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Citing a rebound in the bear's population, the U.S. Department of Interior announced its intention Thursday to end these protections and return oversight of the animal's status to the state level.

The agency says the rule to remove the grizzly from the endangered species list will be published "in coming days" and "will take effect 30 days after publication."

Ryan Zinke.
(PD)

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Wednesday signed orders implementing measures President Trump wants to take to roll back restrictions on fossil fuel production.

The 14-month old Obama-era moratorium on new coal leases on federal land ended Wednesday with the stroke of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s pen.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Courtesy Ryan Zinke

On Thursday morning, Congressman Ryan Zinke issued his first press release since media outlets broke the news he was President Elect Donald Trump’s top pick for Secretary of the Interior. In it, he wrote, "I am honored and humbled to be asked to serve Montana and America as Secretary of Interior."

The confirmation unleashed a mixed bag of reactions.

Map of the Columbia River Basin with the Snake River highlighted in yellow and the Columbia River in blue
Kmusser derivative work: Shannon1 (CC-BY-SA-3)

Montanans can weigh in this week on how to best save the endangered Northwest salmon. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power Administration are revising plans to protect the species.

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