- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 22, 2015

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter says the federal government replaced transparency with closed-door meetings while deciding to deny protections for the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

The Interior Department announced its decision Tuesday while releasing the final amendments to federal land-use plans meant to protect the bird’s habitat.

Otter says the land management schemes drafted by the federal government remain a mystery for property owners and state and local wildlife officials. He warned the issue was far from over.

Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson says he’s pleased with Tuesday’s decision. However, he acknowledged that concerns remain, particularly in states that feel like their recommendations in the listing process were disregarded.

In Idaho, about 10.5 million acres are designated as either core or important sage grouse habitat.

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