- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

DENVER (AP) - Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has reiterated the federal government will decide whether the greater sage grouse should get protected status despite legislation attempting to block such a listing.

In a letter to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead released Tuesday, Jewell said the government is bound by court order to make a decision by Sept. 30.

She says the Interior Department still plans to work with states to develop conservation plans for grouse habitat.

A bill passed by Congress last month and signed into law by President Barack Obama included a provision barring money from being spent on rules to protect the grouse.

Hickenlooper’s spokeswoman says the governor is committed to helping preserve the sage grouse without federal protection.

Mead’s chief of staff says she plans to release a response Wednesday.

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