Bighorn sheep plan exempts Agua Caliente land

The Interior Department is working on a critical habitat designation for the bighorn sheep that excludes the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, The Los Angeles Times reports.

The tribe sued when 17,000 acres of its land fell under the original protection proposal. The Bush administration settled the case in 2006 and has since cut the tribe from the map for the critical habitat..

Other key areas -- including land owned by a mining company -- were eliminated as well. That has led environmental groups to accuse of the government of caving to tribal and business interests.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it weighed the economic factors in drawing up the new map. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers California, has said the agency must consider the cost of species protection.

Get the Story:
Federal plan would cut habitat for endangered peninsular bighorn sheep nearly by half (The Los Angeles Times 9/2)

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