The greater sage-grouse.

A proposed $1.1 trillion 2015 budget to fund the U.S. government will scrap protections for sage-grouses that have restricted drilling in some parts of the western United States.

The spending bill would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from designating the greater sage-grouse an endangered or threatened species, Reuters said.

The Gunnison sage-grouse was listed as threatened last month, a measure that allows Fish and Wildlife Service to restrict access to the birds’ habitat.

Sage-grouses inhabit nearly 186 million acres in about a dozen states, industry group Western Energy Alliance said.

Proponents of the budget measure argued local and state governments are already protecting the species on a voluntary basis.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the measure, along with the rest of the budget, Thursday with a Senate vote following a day or two after.

A court approved settlement set a September 2015 deadline for the Fish and Wildlife Service to issue a decision on how it would list the sage-grouse.


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