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“This is millions and millions of acres of Western land that stretch across the spine of this nation,” said Bobby McEnaney, an expert in Western land use at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group. “With this single action, the administration is saying: This landscape doesn’t matter. This species doesn’t matter. electricity magnetism and light Oil and gas matter.”

The plan is the latest in a series designed to promote more oil and gas drilling on public land in support of what President Trump has called a policy of American “energy dominance.” Last December, Mr. Trump signed a law that opened the vast Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration, and the administration has since moved with unprecedented speed to allow exploratory work to begin there. In January, the Interior Department proposed opening up almost the entire American coastline to offshore drilling.

Last December, the administration also slashed the size of two major national monuments in Utah, reducing Bears Ears, a sprawling region of red rock canyons, by 85 percent, and Grand Staircase-Escalante to about half its former size, with the intent of opening the land to drilling and mining. gas vs electric water heater savings But that move opened up only two million acres, compared with the nine million acres in the sage grouse decision.

The opening of great swaths of land and water to drilling could become tough to reverse once companies start leasing the land or sinking rigs into the ground, Patrick Parenteau, a professor of environmental law at Vermont Law School, said. “It’s a major step,” he said. “It’s practically irreversible once you have the commitment of these lands to industrial uses.”

In cases where drilling was permitted in the habitat, it came with restrictions such as bans on drilling during mating season. 93 gas near me The Obama plan also limited construction of drilling infrastructure, such as pipelines and roads, in sage grouse habitat and required companies that drill in restricted areas to pay into a fund to preserve and protect other habitat areas.

Government watchdog groups were critical of the role played by Mr. Zinke’s deputy secretary, David Bernhardt, in drafting the sage grouse plan. gas hydrates ppt People familiar with the yearlong process say that much of the substantive work was performed by Mr. Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist. gas constant mmhg Since his confirmation to his position last year, Mr. Bernhardt has attracted criticism that his work creates a conflict of interest, given that he oversees proposals that could directly benefit his former clients.

As a partner in the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Mr. Bernhardt lobbied for the oil companies Cobalt International Energy and Samson Resources. His legal clients have included the Independent Petroleum Association of America and Halliburton Energy Services, the oil-and-gas extraction firm once led by former Vice President Dick Cheney.

In March, a group of oil companies, including the Independent Petroleum Association of America, wrote to Mr. Bernhardt to thank him for his work on actions “that rescinded and revised mitigation policies that far exceeded statutory authority.” The groups also listed policies they hoped that Mr. Bernhardt would change, including the Obama sage grouse plan.