Court upholds protection for Gunnison sage grouse in Colorado, Utah (copy)

Male greater sage grouse perform mating rituals for a female grouse on a lake outside Walden, Colorado, in a 2013 file photo.

State officials and conservationists want action delayed on new federal oil and gas leases proposed in Colorado.

The Denver Post reports the Colorado Bureau of Land Management is taking public comments until 4 p.m. Wednesday on leases set to be offered in a September sale.

The agency is considering offering leases on 123 square miles covering 83 parcels in eight counties.

Officials say many of the parcels were deferred from an earlier sale while the Interior Department rewrote an Obama-era plan to conserve greater sage grouse.

The Colorado Department of Natural Resources says 77% of the proposed leasing areas are in sage-grouse habitat.

Conservationists say the targeted land overlaps with wildlife migration corridors.

The BLM agreed earlier this year to prioritize the bird's habitat over energy development.

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