This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
The greater sage-grouse has a very hard life. Aside from facing predators like foxes, bobcats, and coyotes, the ground-dwelling western bird is also threatened by oil and gas development, miners, ranchers, hunters, climate change, invasive grasses, and, now, Kanye West.
This spring the rapper and presidential hopeful, who purchased a sprawling ranch in Cody, Wyoming, in 2019, got the go-ahead to expand development on the property, which happens to be situated in key sage-grouse habitat. And while West isn’t likely to single-handedly wipe out the sage-grouse with a few (albeit big) ranch upgrades, the episode illustrates how a lack of protection under the Trump administration — which has aggressively sought to dismantle safeguards for the species — has further threatened the already vulnerable bird.
According to permits shared with Mother Jones by officials from Park County, Wyoming, and as first reported by TMZ last month, West plans to add to his ranch several new structures: a two-bedroom lake house; two underground, 10,000 square-foot park... Read more