NEWS

ENVIRONMENTALISTS CHALLENGING SAGE GROUSE DECISION

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Environmental groups are suing to force the Obama administration to impose more restrictions on oil and gas drilling, grazing and other activities blamed for the decline of greater sage grouse across the American West. The lawsuit filed today says a sweeping conservation effort the government announced last September is riddled with loopholes and won’t be enough to protect the bird from extinction. The suit follows several legal challenges against the same rules.Mining companies, ranchers and officials in Colorado,Utah, Idaho and Nevada say the administration’s actions will impede economic development.  Garfield County has been at the forefront of the battle having spent millions of dollars refuting the BLM’s habitat mapping of the grouse as well as the estimated population of the bird.  The new rules are part of an effort to keep them off the endangered species list.

FORMER TEXAS DEATH ROW INMATE ACCUSED OF RAPE IN MESA COUNTY

GRAND JUNCTION (AP) – A former Texas death row inmate freed nearly 30 years ago is accused of kidnapping and raping a woman in Colorado.Claude Lee Wilkerson was arrested Sunday and is being held in the Mesa County Jail.Mesa County Sheriff’s Sgt. Henry Stoffel confirmed that Wilkerson spent four years on death row before being freed from Texas state prison in 1983 after a judge threw out his confession because he didn’t waive his rights. He was one of four men arrested in 1978 in connection to the deaths of three people during a jewelry store robbery.  Wilkerson is expected to be charged with rape on Monday.  He will be represented by the Public Defender’s office.

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