Over 40 percent of the lands in Malheur County have been designated as core habitat for sage grouse by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (“ODFW”). Other counties in southeastern Oregon are also heavily affected. ODFW’s approach was to simply recommend against any development in core habitat, without consideration whether off-site mitigation could result in net benefit. For energy and mining developments in particular, it seemed likely that the Energy Facility Siting Council (“EFSC”) and the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (“DOGAMI”) would defer to ODFW’s recommendation. This approach threatened the economic vitality of southeastern Oregon.
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