Governors say ban on land deals could hurt beleaguered bird

DENVER (AP) — Some Western governors say a new Trump administration directive threatens to undermine a hard-won compromise aimed at saving a beleaguered bird scattered across their region.

The directive, issued in late July, severely limits a type of land swap involving federal property. Critics say that eliminates an important tool for saving habitat for the shrinking population of greater sage grouse.

The swaps allow companies that destroy or damage habitat to replace it with similar land elsewhere. It’s used as a last resort, if the damage can’t be avoided or minimized.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper told federal officials in an Aug. 2 letter that he opposes the change. Nevada, Oregon and Utah also expressed opposition or concern.

Federal officials say they’re willing to work with the governors on a solution.