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Federal environment minister tells Ottawa to protect endangered sage grouse

The federal government has revealed how it plans to protect an iconic prairie bird on the brink of vanishing from the grasslands.
The federal government has revealed details of a last-ditch plan to save an iconic prairie bird from vanishing from the grasslands. The Canadian Press / HO - C. Olson, Alberta Wilderness Association

OTTAWA – After having its legal feathers ruffled in court, the federal government says it is moving to protect the endangered sage grouse.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq says the government intends to introduce an emergency protection order for the bird native to the southern Prairies.

She says the order would impose obligatory restrictions to protect the sage grouse and its habitat on provincial and federal crown lands in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The restrictions would not apply to activities on private land, or on grazing on provincial or federal crown lands.

Last year environmental groups went to court to force Ottawa to issue an emergency protection order for the bird after the government said discussions about the sage grouse were covered by cabinet confidentiality.

Last month the Federal Court of Appeal ruled the federal government can’t use cabinet secrecy to hide debate about the endangered bird.

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