The Interior Department has been working since June 2017 on changing the protection for salmon chicken. At that time, former Minister Ryan Zinke signed an order requiring federal and state governments to "strengthen communication and cooperation … with the common goal of" keeping salmon chicken while not hindering local economic opportunities ", said the Bureau of Land Management.
The efforts looked at the change in land use guidelines in the West, which had been introduced in 2015 under the Obama administration to protect the bird's habitat.
Under Zinke, Interior asked eleven states if they felt that changes to plans for 2015 should be made, and seven said that there should be changes, BLM said. The department's working group recommended that grasshoppers should not be protected under the Endangered Species Act and suggested changing the land use policies in the states, which stated that they believed that changes to the plans should be made.
The states affected by Interior's new plan of black-headed groins are Oregon, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, and northeastern parts of California.
The Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives, MP Raul Grijalva, a Democrat from Arizona, called the changes in a statement "smashing process for our environment".
"As part of its ongoing campaign to transfer public land to fossil fuel companies, this government is backing the protection of the white chickens that many stakeholders have created together in a long and deliberative process," Grijalva said. "It seems clear that Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt's clients will benefit more than anyone else from this revision."
Interior officials disagreed saying the new policy showed how the state and federal government could work together to protect the wild bird and not hinder economic development.
"Since the beginning of this effort, all partners have the" I must conserve the wise chicken and prevent the species from being threatened or endangered, "said Brian Steed, BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs, in a statement. We also share a commitment to nature conservation that does not endanger Western communities and balances regulation and access. "
Public calendars indicate that Bernhardt participated in at least three meetings of the Weisenhuhn staff, at least one of which consisted of staff who communicated with the IPAA on the topic or met with representatives of the group.
In a March 2018 letter, IPAA and other groups expressly thanked Bernhardt for Interior's regulatory returns, saying they were looking forward to working with the agency to revise the land use guidelines for Sage Grouse.
A spokesman for Bernhardt said in a statement that he had fully complied with his agreement and some proponents of the energy industry argue that such regulatory declines are part of Trump's election.
Western Values Proje Deputy Director of Jayson O'Neill said the Trump administration had "broken their deal with the West" with these changes.
"The changes were rigged from the outset at the behest of the same special interests and oil and gas corporations like Bernhardt manipulated as a lobbyist, ignoring the concerns of the former Western governors and the over half a million voices calling for the original deal to obey, "O & Neill said in a statement.
CNN's Scott Bronstein, Curt Devine, Drew Griffin and Audrey Ash contributed to this report.